White House Officials Meet Indian American ‘Dreamers’
India-West News Desk
WASHINGTON, DC – For the first time, White House officials met a representative group of documented ‘dreamers‘, mostly Indian Americans, giving a patient hearing to their concerns regarding aging out and indicating that there may be positive moves so that they don’t have to leave the country where they have spent almost their entire live.
The so-called documented dreamers, who are estimated to be about 250,000, grew up legally in the US but risk deportation when they turn 21.
“We look forward to seeing positive policy change, both administrative and legislative, to end aging out,” said Improve the Dream, a youth-led grassroots organization that is fighting for the cause of the documented dreamers.
Early this week, a large representative group of Improve the Dream met Betsy Lawrence, Deputy Assistant to the President for Immigration, and Erika L. Moritsugu, Deputy Assistant to the President and Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, the Press Trust of India reported.
Though these children have been coming to Washington DC for the past few years, this is for the first time that senior White House officials have met them.
“I really appreciated meeting the White House officials who took time out of their day to come and listen to our stories and were willing to help us. I enjoyed meeting them and would like to thank them for all they have done to help us. As the first group in our situation to meet officials at the White House, it was a surreal experience and one that I will not forget,” said Sri Harini Kundu.
Harini came to America when he was seven years old and since then has lived in TX, NJ and now NC. He will turn 23 in September this year. “I am currently in a F1 student visa status and will have to self-deport once I finish my education. I am about to graduate in Fall 2022.”
Eti and her twin sister Eva, who are now 25, were brought to the US at age seven when their father started his Ph.D. When they were in middle school, their father’s employer-sponsored their father and dependents for a green card. After aging out of their parents’ visa and green card application, Eva and Eti hopped from temporary visa to temporary visa.
Eva was lucky enough to find an employer to sponsor her for a work visa and is about to enter the back of the 150-year-long green-card line, while Eti is on an international student visa to complete her Ph.D. and is currently in no line, they told PTI.
Dip Patel, founder of Improve the Dream, told the news agency, “For the first time, over 20 young immigrants from Improve the Dream visited the White House this week and met with senior immigration administrators to discuss the issue of aging out and the green card backlog for affected youth.”
“This week, they were not only able to tell their stories to the Executive office, but also to their legislators as well the Congresspersons that represent them. Through their advocacy, they have spread across the Capitol Chambers meeting with senators and representatives from Indiana, Florida, Iowa, and more,” he said.