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Thursday, July 25, 2024

India-born H-4 visa holder forced to self-deport from US after ‘aging out’ from his mother’s green card petition


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On June 13, a bipartisan group of lawmakers addressed administrative actions that need to be taken to safeguard children of green card applicants, who may otherwise be pushed to leave the United States on “aging out.” Led by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC), a letter signed by 43 lawmakers was sent to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou, urging the Biden administration to take necessary steps to protect children of professionals awaiting the approval of their employment-based green card.

Roshan Taroll, who works for a semiconductor company in the Bay Area on his F-1 Optional Practical Training, was forced to self-deport from the United States after "aging out" at 21 and failing to secure an H-1B visa. (X/Twitter)
Roshan Taroll, who works for a semiconductor company in the Bay Area on his F-1 Optional Practical Training, was forced to self-deport from the United States after “aging out” at 21 and failing to secure an H-1B visa. (X/Twitter)

According to the current immigration policy, children, in such cases, may be pushed to leave the country on turning 21 if their parents haven’t yet obtained permanent residence in the US.

Forbes states that more than one million Indians, including dependents, are desperately waiting in the EB-based immigrant visa categories, according to a National Foundation for American Policy analysis. As a result, “aging out” of immigration status exposes some children to the risk of deportation while their parents suffer the brunt of excessive green card backlogs.

One such heartbreaking case is that of Roshan Taroll, an Indian-born American who was recently threatened with the traumatic risk of family separation. After turning 21, Roshan self-deported to Taiwan in June 2024 as he was forced to leave his existing family behind in America.

Also read | H-1B and L-1 visa extensions could weigh thousands of dollars heavier on US employers, according to new DHS proposal

India-born American, who came to the country on an H-4 dependent visa via his mother’s work visa, is forced to self-deport due to the annual limit on H-1B petitions and “aging out”

Improve the Dream, a youth-led organisation that advocates for “young immigrants, who have grown up in the United States as child dependents of visa holders, through engagement, education, resources, and research,” according to its official website, shared Roshan’s case on social media.

The video introduces his upsetting story, explaining how he was forced to self-deport for the US. His interview with the organisation divulged how the originally Boston-based individual moved from India to America with his family (including his mother and brother) when he was ten years old. He came to the country on an H-4 dependent visa through his mother’s work visa.”

Further detailing how strenuous it was for his mother to juggle with her professional status, being on an H-1B visa, and her family. “It was definitely a bit of a shock having to manage raising two boys at home and also going to work and being on a H-1B visa.”

Why Roshan Taroll’s family moved to the US

“We really moved because my mother saw the opportunities in this country to be endless, and she really wanted us to be able to utilise and take advantage of those,” Roshan highlighted.

Also read | HT Exclusive: Pelosi spokesperson blasts ‘ludicrous’ alleged ‘secret Democrat plot’ to replace Biden before election

Moving on to discuss what a US citizenship would mean to him, he said, “I think a path to citizenship, to me, would just mean it would be a full circle moment because my mother, she passed away before she could get her green card. And for her, moving to the United States meant her kids are able to have the opportunities that she may have not had and being able to fulfill their dreams. And so, a path to citizenship would mean being able to fulfil the hopes and dreams of my mother, but also of myself, because I owe a lot to this country, and I’m so glad for how it has raised me and how it’s educated me, and I only want to give back.”

Having spent all his formative years in Boston, Roshan heartfully proclaimed that he and his family couldn’t “think of any other place to call home.”

What happened when he “aged out”

Upon “aging out” at 21, he had to convert to an F-1 student visa to attend Boston College. He continues to work for a semiconductor company in the Bay Area on his F-1 Optional Practical Training, which he addressed as a three-year work permit. His story took a while turn when he wasn’t selected in the H-1B lottery, enforcing his self-deportation to an office location outside the US. While he will resume his professional duties at the same company, he will no longer be stationed in the US.

Also read | July 2024 US Visa Bulletin: Unexpected advancement in key Indian Green Card category; retrogression across EB-3

While most people were busy pursuing their college dreams, Roshan was perturbed by the thoughts of “aging out”: “I think I realised when I could age out closer to when I was thinking about going to college. My parents tried to shield as much of the immigration system and the whirlwind and the ups and downs of the system as much as they could from us kids. But when I first started applying to college, I realised that being an H-4 dependent is very different from being just a regular kid growing up in this country. You are treated as an international student or a non-residential alien.”

Although initially, Roshan merely perceived “aging out” as switching visa statuses, the realisation that he would be “kicked off” his mother’s green card petition hit much later. Akin to other families not strictly riding on their Plan A and also planning out other contingencies if they’re not selected in the H-1B lottery, Roshan’s family also did their best to plan ahead.

Yet, they held on to the “hope that maybe towards the last minute, something will come up” and he will be able to stay “and everything would be okay.” As the finality of the “surreal” situation struck him, he reiterated how having spent over 16 years in the US, it was the only place he associated with being his home.

“It feels very frustrating to know that all the time that I had spent in our immigration system would be rendered invaluable. Even though I’ve grown up with my friends, my peers, my co-workers… I’ve learnt so much from them… I owe so much to this country that’s given me so much… It does feel very frustrating to end in this way and have to self-deport, he said before concluding his video message.

Ultimately, despite trying three different lotteries, Roshan’s company failed to secure an H-1B visa for him due to the low annual limit on these petitions.

“The US lost a taxpayer, he lost his family and his home,” Improve the Dream wrote on X/Twitter. Meanwhile, the organisation’s founder, Dip Patel, lauded the bipartisan Congress members for pushing for administrative policy improvements to be put in motion urgently. “Until Congress can pass the bipartisan America’s Children Act, we need urgent action by the administration to prioritize this issue, which has bipartisan support from Congress and the general public, and clear economic benefit,” he added.


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