Houston immigrant doctors given 24 hours to leave the U.S., then a reprieve

Source: Houston Chronicle

By Lomi Kriel

On Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Pankaj Satija and his wife, both immigrants from India living and working legally in Houston, were abruptly told by immigration officials they had 24 hours to leave the United States. A new policy, they were told, no longer allowed them to extend their temporary permission to stay while they waited for permanent authorization.

The two doctors, who have been here legally for more than a decade and are highly specialized in their fields, were first astounded, then hysterical. Satija had 90 patients scheduled before the end of the week.

“I was breaking down every two hours,” said the 40-year-old neurologist who helped found the Pain and Headache Centers of Texas and performs about 200 operations a month.

The couple have never even been issued a parking ticket and pay their taxes quarterly, rather than once a year. Satija’s wife, Dr. Monika Ummat, is also a neurologist specializing in epilepsy at Texas Children’s Hospital. They have two young U.S.-born children.

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