They Cry For Me: H-1B Visa Ban Separates Mom of Two From Her Kids

As her wait to return enters month five, she says the order has done “irreparable harm” to her family and her kids.

Updated
The Indian American
2 min read

Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui & Vishal Kumar

Poorva Dixit, a software engineer based in San Francisco, and a mother of two, has been stranded in Mumbai since March 2020 following US President Donald Trump’s executive order, temporarily suspending H-1B visas, citing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.

As her wait to return to San Francisco enters month five, she says the order has done “irreparable harm” to her family, especially her kids.

‘5 Months and Counting’

Traveling to India to attend to her sick mother, Dixit knew she would have to get her routine visa stamped by the US Consulate in Mumbai to return home, to the US.

On 16 March, a day before her visa appointment, the consulate shut down due to coronavirus restrictions. Eight days later, she unfortunately lost her mother and was unable to fly back home to her children in the US after.

“This is the worst time of our life, that we have seen,” recounts Kaustubh Talathi, as he speaks of his wife. Both Kaustubh and Poorva work in the US on H-1B work visas.

“Mom, can you just come through the screen and hug me once?” begs Poorva and Kaustubh’s three-year-old daughter, unable to understand why her mother hasn’t come home yet.

“Sometimes, (my kids) also tell me that there is a big lake, and there is a crocodile in the lake, and that’s the reason mom cannot swim, and she cannot come here. So, can you go by car, and protect her and bring her back?”
Kaustubh Talathi to The Quint

While Trump’s proclamation exempts spouses and children of US Citizens in the Executive Order, it remains silent on parents of US citizens.

On 12 August, however, the Trump administration relaxed some of the rules for the H-1B visa holders.

Those resuming employment at the same position with the same employer, and specialists whose travel is necessary for the economic recovery of the country, will be allowed to enter the country.

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