2 prominent Indian-American doctors here facing deportation as their travel papers had expired got a last-minute postponement on humanitarian grounds, in an unexpected act of grace by United States officials who seem to be bent on breaking down on illegal immigrants.
Dr. Pankaj Satija & his wife Dr. Monika Ummat, both neurologists, have been working legally in the United States for the last sixteen years.
As they were thereby to board a plane for India yesterday, they were given a ninety-day extension on humanitarian grounds.
The dilemma started when they visited India to see Pankaj’s ill father in October last year. On their return they were held at the Bush International Airport by Customs & Border Protection officials since their travel documents had expired, the Houston Chronicle summarized.
The Customs & Border Protection officials stamped their travel document stating that it would terminate in June this year, when in reality, the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services remarked that their document actually expired in June 2016.
Upon returning to the United States nearly a week later, a Customs & Border Protection official at the airport recorded the discrepancy. The officials, though, permitted them to enter temporarily to fix the error.
On Wednesday, Pankaj & his wife was abruptly informed by immigration officials that they had twenty-four hours to leave the United States. The couple, who have a seven-year-old son & four-year-old daughter, were said that under a new policy, they could no longer continue their temporary permission to stay while they waited for permanent authorization, local media described.
The couple had called on their legislators & had taken the media along with their attorneys to defend their case.
They arrived, as ordered, to customs officials at Bush Intercontinental Airport, where they were said the agency had quickly reversed course.
“Somebody at a higher level has made that decision,” they were represented by an agent. “I understand that you are physicians and a lot of lives are at stake.”
The agency gave the couple 3 months of humanitarian parole, a rare measure admitting immigrants, who are otherwise not allowed to enter the United States, the possibility to do so due to a “compelling emergency” to fill out their paperwork.
Dr Pankaj & his wife thanked the United States Senator John Cornyn & his staff for their timely help in solving the problem.
“It was an unusual act of grace from an administration that has so far seemed intent on removing as many immigrants as it can, making few exceptions, even for those, like the Satijas, with good reasons to stay,” the Houston Chronicle noted in its report.
The Indian-American doctor couple’s lawyer Gordan Quan told the dilemma illustrates not only the black-and-white view the Donald Trump administration has held on immigration matters, yet the harshness of the system, the complexity of which maximum Americans who urge legal immigration don’t experience.
The Donald Trump administration last month announced strong new orders to start a sweeping crackdown on undocumented aliens, putting approximately all of the country’s eleven million undocumented foreigners in a spot for deportation.