The widow of a man who was shot in a suspected hate crime in February is threatened with deportation from the U.S.
Sunayana Dumala is the widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who died after being shot at a restaurant in Kansas City, the Kansas City Star reports.
Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder was outraged to hear the news that Dumala feared not being able to come back to the U.S. after traveling to India for Kuchibhotla's funeral.
"We are not going to deport the widow of the victim of a hate crime," Yoder, who worked with Dumala to secure a visa extension for a year, said on Sept. 7.
Efforts are still being made to secure a long-term future in the country for Dumala, who was applying for a green card with her husband when he died.
"On the fateful night of Feb. 22, I not only lost my husband but also my immigration status," she wrote in an email to the Star on Sept. 8.
"I'm very fortunate that many people came to my rescue to get me back on a temporary status ... and are continuing to work on a permanent fix," she added.
Yoder believes there are larger problems with America's immigration system, and he is pushing for a reform that would make it easier for skilled immigrants to obtain permanent residency rights. Yoder is the lead sponsor of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which was introduced in Congress in July.
The U.S. is capped at issuing 120,000 green cards per year and only 7 percent of cards can go to recipients from any single country. This means that applicants from large countries, like India, have to wait much longer to obtain green cards than people from smaller countries.
Yoder wants to lift the 7 percent cap.
"We don't have many people coming here from Scotland or Germany because they don't want to come here," immigration lawyer Mira Mdivani told the Star. "The economy of their countries are strong enough to keep them there. We are so fortunate to have people from India, China and the Philippines who want to bring their talents to our country."
Yoder hopes his initiative, which enjoys bipartisan support and the backing of more than 100 members of Congress, could be taken up as part of discussions on legislation to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said on Sept. 8 he is confident Congress can pass a measure to replace DACA before the program expires in six months.
"What I've heard from Republicans is if you'll give us border security, we can consider supporting the Dream Act, so that's where the conversation is today," Durbin told WLS.
Sources: Kansas City Star, WLS / Featured Image: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Michael Johnson via Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, U.S. Department of Labor/ via Wikimedia Commons