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Sonali Kolhatkar: Will Biden Reunite My Family?

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Trump slammed the door on immigrants, not just those without papers, but those who were vetted and approved. Sonali Kolhatkar is a journalist, talk show host, and activist in California. She expected to bring her parents from India, but Trump blocked their entry. Now she hopes that Biden will open the door to legal immigration.

She writes:


In April 2020, just as I was putting together the final stages of an arduous sponsorship application for my parents to obtain legal residency, President Trump signed an executive order upending our lives. Under cover of the COVID-19 pandemic, he enacted a 60-day suspension of most immigrant visas including those that enable citizens to sponsor their non-citizen parents. Two months later, Trump added more visa categories to the ban and extended it until the end of the year.

Trump’s cruel anti-immigrant agenda separated untold numbers of families, including mine. Will the new administration fix the mess?

Although the authority to change immigration laws lies with Congress, Trump managed to push through many aspects of an anti-immigrant wish list he has been touting for years. Americans like me suddenly have no access to the same rule that first lady Melania Trump used to sponsor her parents from Slovenia.

While the horrifying cases of family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border have justifiably drawn public indignation, the spectrum of separation is broader than most Americans realize. According to the advocacy group Value Our Families, Trump’s green card ban affects people like my parents who are being sponsored by their adult U.S. citizen children, as well as the spouses and children of green card holders, and the children and siblings of U.S. citizens. An estimated 358,000 people attempting to immigrate through available legal processes are affected...

As we wait for Biden to take the reins of government and do the right thing, my family will remain separated. Meanwhile, each day I can see from my backyard the newly built home, financed through the savings of my foreign-born parents, that sits empty and waiting for them.

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