Tanya: Opportunity to attend college cost her family visas - Define American

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Tanya: Opportunity to attend college cost her family visas

I typically vote and agree with most Republican views. Knowing Tanya has given me a different perspective on the immigration issue and the difficult situations that can arise.

Story of Tanya (a friend of my daughter's): Tanya arrived in the U.S. on a 6 month visitor visa, with her family, when she was 9 for treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. JRA is chronic with acute flareups so they were able to renew their visas repeatedly.

Five years later, her dad was diagnosed with leukemia and died within a year. Tanya, 14 years old, then took over reapplying for the visitor's visas and handling all paperwork for the family since her mother didn't speak English and her brother is 4 years younger. She continued doing what her dad had done, not knowing what else to do, while still occasionally having flareups of the JRA.

Tanya found out in her senior year of high school that she would be receiving a full scholarship to college – she wants to study medicine – but she needed the student visa. She applied for the normal 6 month visitor visa and the student visa a day later, a wrong move which has become a bureaucratic nightmare. Because of that and her turning 18, both her mom's and brother's visas were denied as well as hers. She's appealed hers, trying to get the student visa, but it has remained stuck in the system for a year.

Family relationships have changed so there is nothing to go back to in Nepal. Anyone who would sponsor or marry her mom would become liable for her dad's medical bills. Anyone that would marry Tanya would become liable for her past bills. She has now lost her scholarship because she didn't get the student visa. Tanya's brother was young enough when he came that he knows very little of Nepal, the language, and the culture. He truly is American. They have wanted to do everything as legally as possible but have had to work illegally in abusive situations to survive.


from Patricia
submitted to Define American on July 6, 2011 at 16:55

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.

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