Photo Credit: Sunayana Dumala/ Facebook
Sunayana Dumala, the widow of Indian-American engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed in an alleged hate crime shootout at a suburban Kansas bar, was facing deportation until a Congressman, Kevin Yoder, heard about her plight and helped her get a one-year visa.
Dumala lost her US resident status following the death of her husband in the hate crime shootout at Austin’s Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas, on February 22 this year. According to eye witnesses, the gunman shouted racial slurs, and opened fire on two Indian men, assuming that they were illegal Muslim immigrants.
Kuchibotla was killed on the spot, while his friend Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old American man who intervened, were wounded.
A Congressman’s Timely Intervention
When Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas heard that Dumala may not be able to return to the US after traveling to India for her husband’s funeral, he intervened directly to help the widow obtain a one-year residency. The one-year visa will help her continue her current job in a marketing agency.
“We are not going to deport the widow of the victim of a hate crime,” said Yoder, Kansas City Star reported.
Yoder added that he was “apoplectic” after hearing the case of Dumala.
“We were not going to let this happen, and did everything in our power to prevent it. Glad we were able to help. My bill, HR 392 called the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants, is a commonsense, long-term fix to prevent situations like these and should be part of upcoming immigration reform discussions,” Yoder wrote on his official Facebook page.
A Sigh of Relief for Dumala
Dumala had earlier written an email to the publication, stating that the fateful night of February 22 not only resulted in the death of her husband but also her immigration status.
“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 said after the news of her one-year visa surfaced.
Dumala, through her Facebook page, thanked Yoder for his timely intervention and added that high-skilled immigrants should join hands to make HR 392 bill a reality.