The ongoing mass layoffs in the tech industry in the US are having a major impact on immigrants, especially those from countries like India and China who were in the country on H1-B visas.
Those who have been laid off are desperately hunting for jobs for two reasons – to put food on their tables and, more importantly, to ensure that they can continue living in the US.
Layoff, costing jobs and ripping families apart
That is because holders of H1-B visas, which are non-immigrant visas, have just 60 days from the termination date of their jobs to find a new one, failing which they have to leave the country.
The current layoffs have led to thousands of laid-off H1-B visa holders facing deportation.
It is also ripping families apart as the children of H1-B visa holders, who are born in the US and are thus citizens, can legally stay in the country, but their parents may soon have to leave.
The fear of deportation affects not just those laid off but also others who worry that their employers could soon show them the door.
Teenager flees home to avoid deportation
One such incident took a tragic turn recently after a teenager fled from her home, fearing that she could be deported if her father is laid off.
Tanvi Marupally, a 14-year-old Indian-American schoolgirl, has been missing for more than three weeks in the US state of Arkansas.
Tanvi, a resident of Conway, Arkansas, was last seen in her neighbourhood on January 17 when she left for school on the bus.
Her family and police believe Tanvi may have fled from home due to fear of deportation.
Her father, Pavan Roy Marupally, who works in a tech company, faced the possibility of losing his job due to ongoing layoffs in the technology sector.
Mother had to return to India after losing job
Earlier, her mother, Sridevi Eadara, had lost her job and was forced to return to India alone and reapply for a visa as a dependent of Pavan. It took a year before she could return to be with her family.
Did not want to go to India
Though Pavan is not currently facing the prospect of getting laid off, he told her daughter that if he loses his job, she must go to India until he figures out something for the family.
“I said…let you and your mom first go back to India, let me figure out what and how the system works out, get a proper job, and then call you back,” Pavan said.
“(She said) what, go back to India? Why should I go back to India? I’ve been here.”
Her parents believe the prospect of being ripped from her home in the US was too much for their daughter.
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