by Sherley BoursiquotTwo Indian doctors living and working in Houston were threatened with deportation by immigration officials on Thursday after their travel documents expired due to a technical error with their paperwork. The duo, also married with two small children, were later given a temporary, 90-day reprieve so they could sort out paperwork that would enable them to continue to live and work in the country legally as they have tons of patients who are due for surgery in the coming weeks.
Dr. Pankaj Satija and his wife Dr. Monika Ummat are both neurologists who have been living in the U.S. for more than a decade. They came to the U.S. to fulfill their medical residencies, the Houston Chronicle reported.
"I have 50 patients today and 40 patients tomorrow," Dr. Pankaj Satija told the Chronicle. "I'm just concerned they'll be left in a lurch. They could land up in the emergency room."
When the couple was coming back from visiting Satija’s sick father in India in October, they were stopped by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials in George Bush Intercontinental Airport
because their travel documents had come to an end, the Times of India reported. CBP still stamped their travel documents to expire in June of this year, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services records indicated their documents expired in June 2016.
CBP told the couple that it was "a common mistake," and they could still enter the country temporarily to fix the discrepancy while they waited for permanent residency papers.
"The officer looked at it and said it's a common mistake, that it was no big deal," Satija said.
However, Wednesday, Satija and his wife were told by immigration officials they had 24 hours to leave the U.S. due to a new policy that could no longer extend their temporary stay. As they were about to board a plane back to India on Thursday, they were granted a 90-day extension on humanitarian grounds.
"These are not tough decisions. These are not criminals, not a threat to society. It’s just the rigidity of the system…and instead of trying to work with people, the new administration is just trying to force them out, no matter what," the couple’s lawyer, Gordan Quan, told the Chronicle.
Satija is set to perform surgery Tuesday to remove hardware from a woman's spine.
Upon stealing office, Dumbass Trump shrieked about a crackdown on immigration and signed executive orders that called for a drastic increase of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Protecting the American people is the highest priority of our government and this department," the U.S. Department Of Homeland Security website says.