December 2, 2023

Immigration Marriage

Feel Good With Immigration

Do not Shed Eye Contact With The Immigration Officer

This story is aspect of a sequence on domestic violence in the South Asian community by the Desi Dost-Pathway to Parity task. It features a initially-man or woman account by a survivor whose identify we have modified to defend her id.

The immigration interview for asylum

My asylum job interview at the United States Immigration Service took nearly five hours.  


No chai. No espresso.

My law firm was correct. The immigration officer questioned me the similar queries numerous situations, twisting them to capture me in a lie. I was making use of for asylum as a victim of domestic violence. My law firm warned it was the toughest category. She reported, ‘do not drop eye make contact with with the officer.’

I was in the very hot seat. 

On the way to the job interview, I’d promised my son we’d visit Disneyland if we bought asylum. 

The feminine immigration officer had my life story just before her. My attorney made me produce every depth, from the working day I was born to why I still left India.

My immigration file

My file experienced nearly 500 documents – witness statements from close friends, neighbors, and coworkers in Delhi, even expenditures for stability guards I employed to safeguard my residence from my abusive spouse.

They watched my body language as I answered.

How did you come to feel? Did you cry? What was your condition of brain? Why did you marry this person? How did he get violent? Did you get a stand? How did your mom die? Did your sister’s guidance you? Why couldn’t you halt the abuse?

I didn’t know how to.

Why I got married

I obtained married because my mom worried there was no male determine in our household. I’m a single of three sisters. My father died of cancer and kidney failure when I was 20. Right after that my aunts and uncles turned their back on us…. it was a bitter reality we experienced to accept.

I satisfied my ex-spouse as a result of my maasi (aunt). He was a hardware engineer who’d been married prior to. My maasi vouched for him. She claimed go ahead, not just about every person is terrible. 

My marriage proposals were being insulting. They rejected me due to the fact there was no guy in my family or they fearful about dowry. So, I reported certainly to the 1st person who reported certainly to me. 

Honestly, I was type of cornered.  

The burden of getting a woman

Just after my dad died, my mom had a brain stroke and was bedridden for seven several years. My youthful sister and I cared for her 24/7. Afterwards, she’d say, “if I die what comes about to you, women? You require to discover any person.”

I felt guilty about remaining born into this relatives as a girl, about becoming a load.

On my honeymoon, my husband and I went on a road trip from Delhi to Mumbai with his family. The doggy went with us. We all slept inside the car. It was so awkward. 

My husband requested for a dowry. Of program, he desired a vehicle, cash, and gold. You know after relationship there are customs and rituals to welcome a new bride. Very little was performed for me.

Artwork by Tanya Momi

My mother-in-legislation claimed her son did me a favor

I shed my mom when I was six months expecting. She explained to me to go away my husband. She said there was some thing wrong. Appear dwelling, we will acquire care of you and your baby. 

My mom-in-law lived with us. She commenced knitting a sweater when I advised her I was pregnant. I was happy thinking it was for the child. She claimed no, it’s for the dog.

She openly stated that her son did me a favor by marrying me. She usually lined for him. 

I was married to him for seven many years. 

He stop his task without having consulting me. I was forced to work. I had no solution to say no.

I did not marry you for you

There have been continual fights and mental abuse.

He would spit on my experience, pull my hair, and push me from the wall. 

He mocked me. “You are so unpleasant. You have buck tooth. You have seizures.”

He reported he married me for my assets. 

“I did not marry you for you.” 

I just kept quiet. 

He had an affair with a lady. She introduced her young ones to my dwelling even though I was at operate. My mom-in-law took her children with my son to a nearby park.

One particular day I caught him purple-handed. 

The past straw

Then factors acquired lousy.

He kept ropes and iron rods under the pillow. The moment he held a hot iron around my experience threatening to melt away me. But he was clever. He twisted my arm and slapped me but designed certain that there were no fingerprints on my experience or system.

His mom under no circumstances, never stopped him.

Just one day my partner threatened to kidnap my son if I did not signal my household over to him.

I achieved breaking issue. 

I took my son, passports, and jewelry, and my employer uncovered me a safe location to hide. 

I was fearful of this violent gentleman. He could bribe somebody to toss acid on me. As a one girl and one mother, it was really hard to endure in India.

Escaping India

My sisters assisted me sell our home and sponsored my excursion to San Diego. 

I am blessed by the women in my everyday living. My sisters. My law firm. The leasing manager at my creating who allow me use her computer system to generate my tale. Mary, a university mother who opened her home to me and arrived to my listening to. And Sneh Agarwal and Uma Lakshman from Sakhi. 

Bonding by Tanya Momi, Acrylic 8×10

A month following my interview I went to USCIS for the last verdict. I’d designed a final decision to go away a man and my nation with just a few suitcases and a very younger little one. If I missing my situation, I’d be deported immediately.

As I opened the choice letter, the immigration officer mentioned “Welcome to The united states.”

I was concerned and adrift, but I retained my assure to my son.

In June 2021, the Desi Dost Undertaking began investigating Transnational Abandonment of Indian American women of all ages in the Bay Location, supported by USC Annenberg Heart for Wellness Journalism and India Currents journal. In Could, Kymal and Nagarajan-Butaney acquired a first-location award on Open up In-Depth Reporting and In-Depth Reporting from the California Information Publishers Affiliation for their investigative reporting on the difficulty of transnational abandonment.

Artwork: Tanya Momi

If you or anybody you know requirements assistance, you should get in touch with:
SD Nari: 24-Hour Hotline

Narika: 1-800-215-7308
Maitri: 1-888-8624874
Raksha: 1-866-56-ABUSE
Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-Harmless (7233)