CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Pramiti is 16 years old. She lost her mother to cancer two years ago and her father to a heart attack this spring. She’s lived in the UK since she was a young child but has no other relatives near her.
After her parent’s death, her aunt and uncle in Charlotte jumped into action.
They wanted to give her stability after her life was shaken so badly. But after pursuing many avenues, they have no clear answer on how to get their underage niece home.
“The trauma this child has gone through in the last five years, I don’t think many of us go through in a lifetime,” Pramiti’s uncle, Aun Kallikadivil said.
When Pramiti’s parents passed, she reached out to her uncle Arun and his wife Sushila. They were selected as Pramiti’s legal guardians.
Their first idea was to adopt her but because she is 16, US immigration law won’t allow it.
“She is really wanting to be with us and more than once she has stated I feel comfortable with one of you being around me,” Arun said.
Arun said after consulting more than 30 immigration lawyers across the country, the family tried to get Pramiti a student visa. Because she doesn’t have extended family in the UK, the consulate determined the teen didn’t have strong enough ties to bring her back.
It became an immigration issue.
“It took a lot of convincing to say we will uproot you and then we are saying you know maybe not because someone with authority has determined you cannot,” Arun said.
Now Sushila is in the UK with the 16-year-old trying to figure out what to do next.
Sushila, a US resident, is on a countdown. She can only stay for six months before it becomes a whole new immigration problem.
“Our situation is we are feeling helpless and we don’t know what to do,” Arun said.
Arun reached out to WBTV and we started making calls trying to find an immigration lawyer with a fresh idea.
“It’s very important for families to be united,” Mercer Cauley said. He’s a board-certified immigration specialist here in Charlotte
Cauley said he’s seen several of these cases, especially after the conflict in Ukraine began. He suggests the family pursues humanitarian parole. It’s a document that would allow Pramiti into the US for a predetermined amount of time for humanitarian reasons. In this case, the forced separation of Arun and Sushila and the financial hardship of the situation.
“It allows them to come into the country, they do not have status but they are allowed to be here and live,” Cauley said.
It’s a glimpse of hope, one more thing they can pursue as they try to bring Pramiti home.
“She is emotionally distraught, she is putting on a brave face but she is 16. She is a child,” Arun said.
Pramiti made a second attempt to obtain a student visa on Monday, but she was denied a second time.
Arun has also started a Change.org petition to try and bring awareness to the issues his family is facing and in hopes he can make this journey easier for the next family who has to take it.
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