A longtime resident of the Bay Area, Abha Sharma suffered devastating losses from the Delta variant in India over the past two months. Sharma’s father and 40-year-old younger brother both succumbed to COVID 19. Her only surviving relative in India, her mother, Prabha Rawat, who was battling COVID, is now stuck there in a recovery hospital.
Mrs. Rawat is not aware of the deaths of her husband and son. Besides COVID, she has multiple medical conditions that need constant medical attention. The deaths of her husband and son have been withheld from her since she may not withstand the news of these losses on her own. The fear is that she may also pass away if she is not nursed back to health by her surviving family.
Sharma and her other brother, who are both in the USA, are unable to secure a visa to bring their mother here due to the freeze on the B1/B2 visas. Her brother is a US Citizen and she is a green cardholder. They are desperate to bring their mother here because she has no support in India.
The only other option is for Sharma to move to India indefinitely. That will be a huge challenge since she has two children in high school in the Bay Area.
The only hope right now is for the US State Department to issue humanitarian parole or an emergency visa issued based on these circumstances. But, embassy appointment dates are not available. Sharma and her brother are hoping that the State Department could issue their mom a visa to travel.
To this end, Sharma contacted many Congressmen/Congresswomen and Senators in many states including California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo’s office. They tried contacting the US embassy in New Delhi but the US embassy did not consider the circumstances exigent enough.
A visa application is filed but no appointments are available at the US Consulate in New Delhi. Abha has been diligently calling the US consulate every day for a month and a half for an appointment.
At this point, Abha’s situation appears to be dire with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Please sign this change.org petition appealing the State Department to provide a visa to Abha’s mom on humanitarian grounds: http://chng.it/fWPbZtrLQX
Shailaja Venkatsubramanyan has taught information systems at San Jose State. She volunteers with the Plant-Based Advocates of Los Gatos. http://www.plantbasedadvocates.com/