Houston, January 16 – In a unique gesture, the Sikh community in San Antonio, Texas, offered free meals to fellow American government employees affected by the ongoing shutdown that has left thousands without pay in the US.
The partial government shutdown, which entered the fourth week, has left more than 800,000 federal government workers out of work across the key departments.
Trump wants to build a US-Mexico border wall and is seeking USD 5.7 billion in funding for the physical barrier which according to him is a must to prevent flow of illegal immigrants into the US. The Democrats assert that such a move is a “waste” of taxpayers money.
All federal employees, who have been forced to work without pay, or have been furloughed during the partial government shutdown were offered freshly prepared, hot vegetarian meals for three days starting January 11.
The Sikh community workers prepared the gurdwara menu which comprised lentils, vegetables, rice and tortillas.
“Workers and families affected by the shutdown are invited to Sikh Centre all weekend for free meals starting today,” the Center posted on its Facebook on Friday.
The idea that originated from the community’s willingness to offer help during this hour of difficulty for many American families soon drew many volunteers who offered to come and cook to feed everyone who would come to enjoy the meals.
“Sikh Community is there to support the federal employees who did not receive their paychecks. Also, the Sikh Community appreciates their services and believes in giving gratitude to those men and women for doing a wonderful service for the nation,” Balwinder Dhillon, President of the Sikh Center of San Antonio, told reporters.
“The least we could do is support them with a hot meal for the next three days,” he said.
The Sikh Center of San Antonio is the oldest gurdwara in the city and was established in 2001. It also offers food, clothing and shelter to any needy new immigrants. – PTI
As per media accounts, at least 14 Indian Americans — including four incumbents — are running for the US House of Representatives this year. The list of Indian Americans who have announced their candidacy from various congressional districts across the country include:
Candidate: Aruna Miller District: Maryland’s 6th congressional district Party: Democrat
In May 2017, Maryland State Delegate Aruna Miller became one of the first Indian Americans to jump into fraywhen she filed a “Statement of Candidacy” form with the Federal Election Commission to run for Congress from Maryland’s 6th congressional district. The incumbent John Delaney has announced that he’s not seeking reelection.
Miller, who is a civil engineer by profession, came to the United States at age 7. She first got elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in November 2010. She is a member of the Ways & Means Committee and its subcommittees on revenue, transportation, and education. She is the second Indian American delegate from Maryland to run for Congress in two years. Fellow Democrat Kumar Barve ran unsuccessfully from the neighboring 8th district in 2016. Miller and her husband, David Miller, live in Darnestown, MD, just outside of Washington, DC.
Miller has said her focus areas will be jobs, economy, and infrastructure.
Candidate: Dr. Hiral Tipirneni District: Arizona’s 2nd congressional district Party: Democrat
Dr. Tipirneni, an emergency room physician, first announced her candidacy from Arizona’s 8th districton July 19, 2017. A special election was announced for the seat after the incumbent Rep. Trent Franks resigned on December 8, following a House ethics panel decision to investigate him over sexual harassment charges.
The primary is scheduled for February 27 and the general election for April 24.
Tipirneni’s family immigrated from India when she was three. She grew up in suburban Cleveland and obtained a medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University. After serving as Chief Resident of the University of Michigan’s Emergency Medicine program, she and husband, Kishore, whom she met at the medical school, moved to the Phoenix, AZ, area. The couple has three children.
Candidate: Anita Malik District: Arizona’s 6th congressional district Party: Democrat
Businesswoman Anita Malik is running for the US Congress in the 6th congressional district of Arizona. The daughter of immigrants from India, Malik is running for the seat held by three-term Republican, David Schweikert.
Malik believes in fair tax reform that benefits both individuals and small businesses. She is assuring quality, low-cost health coverage for everyone and support to immigrants by policies that unite families and bring diverse talent. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Malik was 7 when her family moved to Arizona where her father worked as a mechanical and computer engineer.
She went on to graduate summa cum laude with degrees in both computer information systems and finance from Arizona State University. She later earned her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California in 2002.
Candidate: Jitendra Diganvker District: Illinois’ 8th district Party: Republican
Jitendra Diganvker announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Illinois’s 8th congressional district race in November.
If nominated by the Republican party, Diganvker will be facing another Indian American and Democratic incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi, and it will be the first time two Indian Americans will be facing each other in the congressional general election.
Diganvkar is campaigning on the issues of security, affordability, fairness, and entrepreneurship.
Born in India, Diganvker’s father was a government officer and his mother a teacher. According to his website, he graduated from Shah N. H. Commerce College, in Valsad, Gujarat, with a degree in Business Management and Advanced Accounting.
In 1995, Diganvker immigrated to the United States to pursue his American dream. He got a job working at a small retail store in Chicago, then worked as a ticket auditor for United Airlines. He became an American citizen on February 4, 2003, and after years of hard work and saving money he launched his first business, of renting cars, which he ran for years.
After closing down his car rental business, Diganvker launched his credit card processing firm based in Schaumburg.
Candidate: Vandana Jhingan District: Illinois’ 8th district Party: Republican
Another Indian American running for the Republican Party nomination from Illinois’ 8th district is Vandana Jhingan, a journalist by profession. She is backed by the Republican Hindu Coalition.
Jhingan, a Chicago-based journalist, is the Midwest Bureau Chief of the Indian American cable network TV Asia. Like Krishnamoorthi, she also lives in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Jhingan, who is from New Delhi, came to the United States after graduating in Business Administration from the Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi. She also studied philosophy at University of Delhi.
Candidate: Sapan Shah District: Illinois’ 10th district Party: Republican
A physician by profession, Shah is running from Illinois’ 10th congressional district seat as a Republican.
The 37-year-old candidate from Libertyville mainly plans to focus on the areas including healthcare crisis, taxes and spending; and championing the role of citizen legislators as intended by the nation’s founders.
The seat is currently held by the three-term incumbent Democrat Brad Schneider.
The Republican primary is scheduled for March 20. Shah is competing against two other Republicans, Jeremy Wynes and Doug Bennett, who have already announced their candidacy earlier.
Shah is the founder of Flagship Healthcare, a Chicago firm that supports some 800 physicians and several hospitals across the country.
Candidate: Harry Arora District: Connecticut’s 4th congressional district Party: Republican
Businessman Harry Arora is running for Congress from Connecticut’s 4th congressional district.
Arora, who is seeking the Republican nomination, filed his paperwork with the state to register as a candidate in December. His focus would be on reviving the economy of Connecticut, lowering the cost of healthcare and improving government.
Born in India, Arora came to the United States as a graduate student. After his graduation, he worked for large corporations for a decade.
After working with Amaranth Advisors, LLC, a Greenwich-based hedge fund that collapsed in 2006, Arora started his own investment management firm, ARCIM Advisors, LLC. In 2012, he co-founded Northlander Advisors, an investment firm with a focus on European energy.
Candidate: Abhijit ‘Beej’ Das Party: Democrat District: Massachusetts 3rd congressional District
Abhijit Das, “a constitutional lawyer by training, but an entrepreneur at heart,” as he calls himself, is the first Indian American congressional candidate to run from Massachusetts. He is one of the 13 candidates who have so far entered the race to succeed the retiring Democrat Niki Tsongas, the wife of former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas.
Son of immigrants from India, Das — popularly known as “Beej” — grew up in Lowell, MA. After earning his bachelor’s in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School, he worked as a lawyer for a few years. He went on to work for Hilton Worldwide, where he was responsible for the development of its brands on the Indian subcontinent. Das left Hilton to launch his own hospitality business, Troca Hotels & Yachts.
Das says he is running for congress because politicians in “Washington have become overgrown unruly children who can neither get along nor get out of each other’s way.” He says on his website, “We all want an American government as worthy as its people. ”
The primary in the state is on September 4.
Candidate: Sri Preston Kulkarni Party: Democrat District: Texas 22nd congressional district
Sri Preston Kulkarni, who worked as aide to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is running from Texas’ 22nd congressional district, which has the largest Indian American population in the state.
The former Foreign Service Officer has spent time in Iraq, Israel, Russia, Taiwan and Jamaica during his 14-year career with the Department of State.
The Democrat says he is running because “hostility and conflict are being inflamed in our own country, through the politics of anger and demagoguery, demonization of specific ethnic and religious groups, threats to rule of law, degradation of women, and an undermining of democratic institutions like a free press.”
The Texas 22nd district, which is in the Greater Houston area, is currently represented by Republican Pete Olson. It has a highly diverse population with 25 percent Hispanics and 18 percent Asians. Having served the country as diplomat, he says he knows how to “push back the tide of fear” and offer “a positive vision for the future that all groups can believe in.”
Candidate: Chintan Desai Party: Democrat District: Arkansas 1st congressional district
Chintan Desai moved to Helena, Arkansas, from California in 2010 to teach fifth graders as part of Teach for America. Seven years later, he’s preparing to take on the three-term incumbent Republican Rick Crawford.
Desai grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, and earned his undergrad degree in political science from the University of California, Davis. “My unlikely story began when my parents moved to this country with little money and even fewer friends,” he says on website. “They lived the American Dream working hard every waking moment to provide their only child a bright future. I had opportunities beyond my wildest dreams — going to college to earn a degree and launching a career in education.”
Desai is running on a progressive platform. Among issues that he’s advocating are making higher education more affordable, closing the income and wealth inequality, sensible gun-control legislation and slowing climate change.
Once a Democratic stronghold, the district is reliably Republican now.
A non-resident Indian (NRI) with roots in Gujarat was brutally killed in a shooting in the United States. Forty year old Akash Talati had shifted to US a decade ago. He was running a motel that housed a strip club in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Talati was the owner of the Diamondz Gentlemen’s Club and was apparently killed in a shootout that resulted from an altercation between the club’s security guards and a patron, who was thrown out.
According to the family, some unidentified assailants had entered the motel with the motive to carry out a loot.“When Akash tried to intervene, the assailants opened firing inside the motel leaving three other employees in the motel injured. Akash died on the spot. After the police reached there, the injured were shifted to hospital where condition of one employee is still critical.”
According to Detective J Littlejohn of Fayetteville Police, the shootout took place around 1.30 am on Saturday, local time at Fayetteville, when Talati was present inside the club. Littlejohn said, “The incident was a result of a verbal exchange between the security guards hired by Talati and a patron, who was asked to leave the club due to his behaviour. He was upset about being asked to go, there was an argument and he opened fire. Talati was shot from close range and died on the spot, while three other employees were injured.”
Littlejohn said no other Indian was injured, while one of the injured is critical. Probe is on to identify the accused, officials said.
Akash is survived by wife Mital, who hails from Surat and eight-year-old son Jay. His last Facebook post, hours before his death, read, “Life is too short for fake connections.”
Cutting corners while applying for naturalization is risky and the penalty for doing so is harsh and the US government is very unforgiving as Balbir Singh alias Ranjit Singh discovered.
US citizenship is a privilege that many legal immigrants aspire to. It takes a lot of persistence and effort to be granted this right by the US government. Of-course the benefits of a US citizenship are many and well documented (link USCIS). Cutting corners while applying for naturalization is risky and the penalty for doing so is harsh and the US government is very unforgiving as Balbir Singh alias Ranjit Singh discovered.
A person of Indian origin, Balbir Singh was recently convicted by US government for using fake identity to get US citizenship. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison, a maximum USD 250,000 possible fine, revocation of his citizenship and enforcement of his outstanding deportation order.
Here is the sequence of events as appearing in the media.
A few years ago, Mr. Singh was ordered deported but lied about it to seek citizenship.
Acting US Attorney Abe Martinez said Mr. Singh had previously attempted to obtain asylum under false pretenses.
When that asylum attempt failed, an immigration judge ordered his deportation from the United States, thus making him ineligible to ever become a naturalized US citizen.
Instead of leaving the country, Mr Singh changed his name, date of birth, the manner in which he entered the United States and his family history so that he could obtain lawful immigration status.
He later applied for Naturalization based on a marriage to a United States citizen. In his Naturalization application, Singh denied ever being ordered deported, seeking asylum or using a different identity.
After obtaining the citizenship, a fingerprint comparison established the man previously ordered deported from the United States (Balbir Singh) and the man who later became a naturalized citizen (Ranjit Singh) were one and the same.
US District Judge Ewing Werlein is scheduled to set sentencing for October 13.
Last week we heard of a “58-Year-Old Indian Man Detained At Atlanta Airport By US Immigration” who died in custody. The question of illegal and overstay of visas is extremely nebulous. The other question still remains unanswered: In an age of additional scrutiny by Trump government, Indians and others still have an urge to overstay the duration of their approved visas.
One of the tables from the report highlighting overstays.
A few facts about Indians highlighted in the report:
Of the 30,000, a little over 6,000 Indian nationals left the U.S. after the expiry of their visas, the report said.
In 2016, more than one million Indians who came to the U.S. on business, tourist or pleasure were expected to leave the country. Of these, 17,763 have overstayed in the country, it said.
Among the overstayed are 2,040 Indians who departed the U.S. only after the expiry of their visas.
This year’s report also includes visitors who entered on a student or exchange visitor visa (F, M, or J visa). Of the 1,457,556 students and exchange visitors scheduled to complete their program in the United States in FY16, 79,818 stayed beyond their authorized window for departure, resulting in a 5.48 percent overstay rate. Of the 79,818, 40,949 are suspected in-country overstays (2.81 percent).
In 2016, as many as 9,897 Indian students or exchange scholars were expected to depart by the end of the year and of which, 4,575 overstayed their legal period.
1,561 Indian students and exchange visitors left the country after their visas expired, while 3,014 of them have overstayed in the country, the report said.