Why these students are dreading their 21st birthdays

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This is the moment when everything he has worked for can slip away.

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“All my friends enthusiastically talk about turning 21 — hitting the bars, all that… but it’s something that scares me,” she says.

On the day she turns 21, Parvatinathan will not be protected by the work visa that allowed her parents to immigrate from India to the United States. And he could face deportation.

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They have dubbed themselves “documented dreamers” and they say their plight shows how broken the US immigration system is.

Deep Patel says that even those who immigrate legally find themselves facing obstacles that are impossible to overcome. 25 year old pharmacist. is the founder of dream improvement, a group of “documented dreamers” who are pressuring Congress and the Biden administration to help save their future.

“The whole situation is something that most people don’t really know,” he says, “that it is possible that an immigrant child could be brought here legally, do all their education here, but still have a chance of becoming No. American.”

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‘Victims of outdated immigration laws’

The issue is affecting an increasing number of people, according to Julia Gelett, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute.

One major reason: the green card backlog is huge – especially for immigrants from India; It may even take decades for them to get a chance to apply, This means that many people who came to America as young children are still waiting for their family’s turn by the time they are 21. At that point, the children of adult visa holders are no longer considered dependents, and are taken out of line. And forced to find his way to live in the country legally.

Another factor: Some families who come to the United States on some temporary work visa are never eligible to apply to become permanent residents.

And because young adults in these groups had visas to allow them to stay in the United States legally, they were not protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an Obama-era program that allowed hundreds of people to live in the United States. Used to provide work permits and protection from deportation. Thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

“Documented Dreamers are one of many victims of our outdated immigration laws that no longer align with the way immigration really works today,” Gelett says.

Deep Patel, founder of Improve the Dream, says the plight of "documented dreamers" Shows how broken the US immigration system is
The members of Improve the Dream are hoping to fix that. They’re making the rounds in Washington, prompting members of Congress to pass A proposed law that would give “documented dreamers” the chance to become permanent residents of the US, provided they have been residing here on a valid visa for at least 10 years and have graduated from an institution of higher education.

“We are just hoping that there is a future for all of us, and that we can live and contribute to the country we call home,” says Patel.

If not, Parvatinathan says, the consequences will be disastrous.

She is living on the edge while waiting for student visa

The 19-year-old hostess at Drexel University in Philadelphia hopes to become a doctor someday. Parvatinathan is majoring in biological sciences and trying to focus on her studies. But fear looms large over his future.

She came to America for the first time at the age of 3. And she doesn’t want to be forced to give up everything she’s worked for and moves to India, where she says she feels like a foreigner.

Parvatinathan says that he tried to get a student visa so that he could stay in the United States after his 21st birthday. It has not come even after 14 months of his application. She is on edge, waiting for word and every time an email notification flashes on her cell phone screen.

“It’s something I think about all the time,” she says.

Applying for student visas for documented Dreamers can be difficult, says Gelett of the Migration Policy Institute, because applicants are required to show that they do not plan to live in the United States—something that can be difficult for teens. It is difficult to prove to those who have spent most of their lives here.

And even securing a student visa doesn’t end their worries—it only gives them time until they have to scramble to find another temporary way to stay in the country, such as an employer. -Sponsored work visa.

“It’s like you’re drowning, and every couple of years you get to take a breath, then get pulled back down,” says Anagha Kulkarni, who will turn 21 in January.

Anagha Kulkarni, 20, worries that he will not be able to get into medical school because of his immigration status.
Kulkarni is an alumnus of The Ohio State University and also hopes to become a doctor. But he knows his chances are slim, as he will be seen as an international student – which means Most US medical schools are unlikely to entertain the notion of accepting him, He may also get no hospital work experience to improve his application, as his dependent visa is not provided by the Employment Authority. All that leaves Kulkarni full of worry and uncertainty about the future in this country.

“Even if I do the best that anyone has ever done,” he says, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay.”

He was forced to leave because he could not find a job.

It’s a dilemma Erin Crosby knows all too well. After living in Florida for nearly 17 years and earning a nursing degree from the University of South Florida, she says she had no choice but to move back to Northern Ireland in the summer, when she could not find a way to live in the United States. . State.

She had acquired a student visa that would have allowed her to stay in the country after her 21st birthday, but with its expiration date approaching, Crosby began looking for work. She says the pandemic made her more determined than ever to become a critical care nurse, but job after job they told her they couldn’t hire her because of her immigration status. Each rejection phone call sent him into a panic.

“It was hard. They weren’t saying ‘no’ because of me. It wasn’t that I did something wrong, or that I didn’t have the right abilities,” she says. “It was something that was out of my control. I felt powerless.”

Erin Crosby, 24, says she was forced to leave the United States and return to Northern Ireland when she could not find a job.  But America is where his closest friends and family live. "That's where my life is still left," she says.

The now 24-year-old is trying to start her life in another country – more than 4,000 miles away from her closest friends and family. The pain of leaving them behind still stings. She is yet to bring herself to update her social media profile with her new location.

Her parents, Nigel and Alison Crosby, say the separation has been heartbreaking. They came to the United States in 2004 E-2 Visa for Investors in US Businesses, Erin, then 7, and her sister Morgan, then 3.

Now the parents say they are faced with a painful prospect—that the only way for their close family to be together again may be to sell the Florida business they’ve spent 17 years building and Northern Ireland has gone back.

“It’s disappointing to me that we’ve done everything legally, but if you do things illegally, you move on,” says Nigel Crosby.

Congress can fix this. but it’s not likely

And it’s hard to believe that help will come from Washington, Nigel Crosby says. He says immigration has always seemed so toxic that no politician can touch it.

“Which party is in power, it feels like a cup of poison,” he says. Nobody wants to do that. They keep kicking cans.” “They just don’t realize the impact it has on the lives of people who are falling apart.”

Erin Crosby stands with her parents and sister after graduating from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Nursing. "I got what was the right degree, the right career path.  ... I totally didn't know that my whole life was going to be turned upside down," she says.
Parvatinathan says she is feeling optimistic after her recent visit to Washington with the other members of Improve the Dream. The group shared their stories with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. they are expecting Law introduced earlier this year to help them That would eventually secure enough bipartisan support to pass — and also that the Biden administration would include them in the planned reform of DACA.
The massive social spending bill recently passed by House Democrats would offer him some protection, but faces an uphill battle in the Senate. When – and whether – there will be relief is anyone’s guess.

So Parvatinathan is trying to remind himself to be patient. But she finds herself still facing a lot of questions that she can’t answer.

In a recent interview for an event at her university, someone asked where she sees herself in 5 or 10 years.

She didn’t know what to say.

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Credit : www.cnn.com

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