Tragedy Turns Her Into An Immigration Activist
Remember Sunayana Dumala, and her husband Srinivas Kuchibotla, a Garmin engineer who lost his life by shooting dead in a hate crime scene? Sunayana, in an interview, has shared how was her life after this tragedy and what were the problems she faced which led her to become an immigration activist.
After her husband was shot dead, she has to travel to India for her husband’s funeral and she wasn’t sure whether she could return back to America. At that time, she was broken and thought if the Shooter's words would come true while filling our the necessary documents for the funeral.
Words of Adam puritan, the man who shot her husband started flashing through her mind, “‘Go back from my country” and she was called back to America.
“During that time, my attorney in the U.S. called me back saying that I had filled my status as married on one of the documents, while it should be a widow. It hit me hard and I realized that this documentation was exacerbating my pain,” she added.
Back to America, she was helped and supported by many to stay back there and pay real homage to her husband and show who he really was. When today, she thinks of that phase, she thanks everyone who helped her through her sorrow time and coming out of that grief.
She rendered herself to the service of many people who are facing problems like her. She said, “I never planned my life like this but going through an exhausting immigration process I knew that there are many like me and my loss would mean nothing if I do not try to create a better way out for others”.
She was helped by then Kansas representative Kevin Yoder to get her a work visa. Thereafter, he tried removing the per-country cap on green cards and helped her get a work authorization also.
But still it wasn’t over, “I had to take the call whether I could go to India for my husband’s ritual a year later as my work visa still hadn’t come,” Dumala said. “There was no guarantee that I could come back again.”But she had got an H-1B visa and was able to travel to India for the yearly rituals for her husband.
She starting fighting for fair immigration laws and once told, I believe in a merit-based system. It’s going to be about three years since my struggle started and people are still dying awaiting their green cards. The families are often left in limbo.
Actually, she wanted herself and others like her to be treated first equally. They also wanted a first chance and first appearance in everything similar as others.
When we apply for a job, we are not hired based on the country we come from, in fact it would be illegal if we are discriminated on the basis of country of origin so why should it be a matter when getting green cards” she told.
Her motive was to make others understand that people like her couldn’t wait for green cards for all their lives and it has to be quick.
“I decided to stay back in America because the country showed me if there was one shooter, there were thousands of others who were ready to support me,” Dumala said. “I believe in the America that feels for others and I am sure our voices will be heard.”
Presently, she is an immigration activist and is fighting for unfair laws regarding acquiring green cards and immigration process.