widow attendes

Sunayana Dumala (center) attended President Donald Trump's Jan. 30 State of the Union Address as a guest of Kansas U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder (left). Dumala, the widow of slain Indian American engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was killed in an apparent hate crime in Olathe, Kan., last February, met with House Speaker Paul Ryan (right) before listening in on Trump’s speech. (IANS photo)

NEW YORK (IANS) — Sunayana Dumala, the widow of Indian American techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was killed in an alleged hate crime last year in Kansas, was a Congressional guest at the President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address.

Dumala called the Jan. 30 speech “welcoming and positive” on reforming immigration.

“In the very beginning he (Trump) said that we all have our differences but we have to work in unity and harmony,” she told the Kansas City TV station, KHSB. “That is welcomed. And he did address immigration and that there is a need to fix a broken system. That is very positive too," she added.

Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder tweeted that he invited her to the president's ceremonial speech “in recognition for her tireless efforts to promote peace and as a message to the Indian community that the U.S. is a nation of immigrants and they are welcome here.”

Dumala is at risk of being sent out of the U.S. because she came in as a dependent on her husband's H-1B temporary professional visa, but the deportation has been stayed.

Before attending Trump's address, Dumala met House Speaker Paul Ryan and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chair of the House Republican Conference, and other lawmakers, according to KHSB's Twitter feed from Washington.

Kuchibhotla was killed and his friend Alok Madasani was injured when a former Navy man Adam Purinton allegedly fired on them last February outside a restaurant in Kansas while shouting, “Get out of my country.” (See earlier India-West story here: http://bit.ly/2B4pVgE)

Purinton is awaiting trial on charges of murder and committing a hate crime.

Yoder is the sponsor of a bill aimed at cutting the delays for professional Indian applicants for green cards which gives them permanent immigration status. The wait time now is over 11 years and is likely to grow longer.

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017 seeks to do away with national quotas for issuing green cards which leads to long waits for Indians because of the large numbers of professionals from the country — many already in the U.S. on H-1B visas — who qualify for immigration.

The Indian Association of Kansas City thanked Yoder for inviting Dumala to the presidential address and said, “This further strengthens our belief and confidence in the American system and its constitution that everyone is respected, loved and is welcome.”

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