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A Gift From Gandhi

The flowers sent to USCIS were transferred to U.S. soldiers recovering at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The flowers sent to USCIS were transferred to U.S. soldiers recovering at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. (By Xiyun Yang -- The Washington Post)

Dilip Tekkedil, 32, a software engineer from North Andover, Mass., is one of the frustrated applicants who came up with the flower idea.

"It was more peaceful," he said. "We don't trouble anyone else. A rally or something, you have to call law enforcement. It's too much trouble for other people."

They do not hold hard feelings against Gonzalez. "I'd like to thank him for the job that he does. I know it's a thankless job," Tekkedil said. "I just hope that he could understand our plight as well."

Their uncertain status makes them fearful of notice. Anand Sharma, 35, a chip design engineer from Longmont, Colo., said she drives well under the speed limit on highways. "We are so scared. We just want to stay here."

But they are weary of how their lives have been frozen in time. They must retain the same job title and income they had when they began the application process, which can last for eight years.

Any reprieve won't come fast enough for Vishal Nanda, 31, an IT consultant who had moved to the United States in 1999. Employed at a subsidiary of Time Warner, he had waited five years for a chance to stay permanently, then was forced to begin his green card process over again because of a technicality, he said.

"There is too much uncertainty," he said. "I don't stand a chance in my lifetime to get a green card."

He is moving back to India next week to join his wife, a dental surgeon.


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