I was an illegal alien in America for 15 years. I've been a crucial part of 2 venture capital backed startups and started one on my own helping non-profits use the web more effectively.
I left New Zealand as a kid and was just going to America for a holiday. I loved it in the States the moment I came and begged my brother to stay. He finally relented and we got some papers made. I stayed in america and became a crack software developer eventually helping found 3 high tech, startups, 2 of which were VC backed.
In 2007 after 15 years in the states, I got a call that my father had a stroke. It was a call I was dreading but luckily he was expected to recover. I made a decision to go back to India knowing it would be 10 years before I could come back (if ever). My girlfriend, bless her heart, supported my decision, I had confessed to her and she didn't leave me.
I went back to India after 20 years of not living there and started helping my friends in the States manage Indian software developers. My girlfriend came, we got married and we had a daughter. 2 years later I had a son, both American citizens since my wife is American.
3 months after my son was born, during a visit to the States by my family (I am still banned from coming), my son had a cardiac arrest from an undiagnosed heart defect. I got a call from the emergency room. I could hear people praying for him in the background and 12,000 miles away and helpless, all I could tell him over the phone was that if he made it we'd move to the beach and get a dog. He had his first surgery that night just to stabilize him and another surgery was scheduled 4 months later. Then came a brutal time trying to figure out a way that I could get back to the States to be there for his second surgery. I was granted a humanitarian parole and got there the day before his surgery. It went fine and 4 months later we moved back to India, and then to Goa (the beach).
One year later, during another visit to the doctors in the States he was diagnosed with a bad speech delay. We made the painful decision to live apart my wife and children in the States, myself in India so that he could get the speech therapy he needs. It's been over a year that we've lived separate lives. My children don't really know me anymore. Progress has been painfully slow with no end in sight.
I've started a startup in India to revolutionize e-commerce in India and the world. We've closed on an angel round and have lots of momentum. But it all tastes bitter. I'm half a man.
I read the article and wanted to add my story. There are millions like it I'm sure. Thanks for reading.
submitted to Define American on June 23, 2011 at 08:40
We hope to share more stories that "define American" and beg critical questions about the state of immigration in our country. Submit your story here. Names are changed to maintain anonymity.