|Kunal Sah sits and looks through a photo album of happier times when he and his family were together in America with KSL reporter Alex Cabrero.|
The Sah family of Green River, Ken, Sarita, and Kunal were deported in July back to India. Ken came to America 16 years ago as a student and stayed to work and build a life. He sent for his wife Sarita and together they worked very hard to save enough money to put down on a motel in Green River.
They operated this motel for many years and eventually built a new motel, the Ramada Limited. Their son Kunal was born in California, and has gone to school in Green River for the past nine years.
During their years in America the Sahs applied for a political asylum which was denied and the appeal process ran out in July and the immigration department ordered their departure.
Since that time, the family has been in India living with family. They don't have employment yet in India or housing. Kunal stayed with his family in India for 45 days, 40 of which he was sick and in and out of the hospital. Kunal returned to America on Aug. 20 to begin a new school year at Green River High School.
Kunal lost 30 pounds during his stay in India. The climate, food and general conditions led to intestinal problems for the 12 year old. Home again in Green River his uncle DC said, "Kunal is starting to gain some weight back again. He was so sick in India."
Alex Cabrero a reporter with KSL 5 news was in Green River on Sept. 14 to interview Kunal. Cabrero asked Kunal about his parents in India, "They are sick, they are not used to the environment. They are not working and are staying with family. I came back to get an education. My dad believes my educational opportunities are greater here than in India."
Cabrero questioned Kunal about the treatment of his family. Kunal said, "It is not fair, my father tried to do all the right things and people who do the wrong things get to stay." The family lawyer Steve Lawrence is still working on options for the family to bring the Sahs back to the United States. He is looking at VISAs of different types to find the best fit for the family. But, for now things remain at a stalemate. The parents in India and the son in Green River without the love and guidance of parents.
|Jeremy Castellano, cameraman for KSL films Kunal Sah and DC Prasad checking in a customer from Nebraska at the Ramada Limited.|
Kunal said things are hard for him and he cries often as he misses his parents. Cabrero told Kunal it looks like he is the man of the family in America trying to help take care of the businesses in his father's absence. Kunal said, "When I talk to my dad he is really sad." Cabrero asked Kunal what he hopes for. "I hope to see my parent's come home and walk through the door of the motel," said Kunal.
Cabrero asked Kunal how he spends his time. "I go to school every day and do my homework. I have been studying for the spelling bee. I talk to my parents on the phone every day, but the connections are not good."
Cabrero asked Kunal what it was like to go to the National Spelling Bee in Washington DC. Kunal said it was an amazing experience and he learned so much that helps him with his spelling preparations now. He is trying hard and working hard to get back to Washington next year. He studies every day in the dictionary and also word origin books.
DC Prasad is the uncle who Kunal is staying with and his wife Jody. DC has taken over the management of both motels in Ken's absence. He is feeling the pinch of managing both facilities. He said sleep is hard to come by as customers come into the motel at all hours to check in. But, DC's not complaining as the customers pay the bills. Sarita always said you can sleep in the winter, but in the summer in a motel in Green River; you don't get much sleep.
DC in his newfound role as a surrogate parent for his brother, worries about Kunal. "This is the first time Kunal has been separated from his family. He is missing his family. He is 12 years old. His heart is crying. He cries at night when we do not see. It is very hard for him. But, his education is important. We are hoping his parents can come back, but we don't know. Right now we just take one day at a time and the work won't stop.
Cabrero asked DC if he was mad at the situation. DC said no he isn't mad. He just doesn't know how they will solve all the problems. "When you live in a small town, you have to depend on yourself. One morning five people were supposed to show up to help clean rooms and only one showed up and me. We cleaned all 44 rooms because they were all rented out again that night. That was a terrible day," said DC. "But, no matter what time you get to bed you still have to be up by 5 a.m. to get the breakfast started."
The news spot on Kunal and the Sah family aired on Sept. 14. Cabrero hopes that by telling the Sah's story and keeping their story and plight alive that someone might be able to help and bring them out of their nightmare and back to America.