Widow of Austins Bar & Grill shooting victim speaks
Garmin officials have pledged to ensure that the wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla will be able to return to the United States after she travels to India for her husband’s burial.
Sunayana Dumala expressed concern after her husband’s shooting death at Austins Bar & Grill that her travel visa would become invalid, making her ineligible to continue living in the United States.
“Garmin has to make sure that I can come back to this country at my will and pursue his dreams of me being successful in any field that I choose,” Dumala said during a news conference Friday at Garmin in Olathe. “And I have to fulfill his dreams right here where he started.”
Company officials said that Kuchibhotla had a work permit or a H1B visa and that Dumala had an H4 visa. He is the main holder of the visa, which allowed his wife to live and work in the United States.
“My husband came to the United States with lots of dreams,” Dumala said. “We made Kansas our home, we made Olathe our home.”
Garmin’s in-house legal counsel as well as its immigration counsel are working on Dumala’s travel arrangements. Several local law firms, including Bryan Cave, have come forward to offer free legal assistance, said Laurie Minard, Garmin’s vice president of human resources.
The law firm also works to ensure that spouses of Garmin’s employees have access to various resources and are able to connect with people in their community.
“We go out in groups; we do things together, there is a lot of bonding,” she said. “If people speak different languages, if English is not their first language we pair them up with people, so they can practice, they can learn.”
“We have done other things to help people understand different cultures and have more awareness and appreciation,” Minard said.
Garmin had sponsored Kuchibhotla as well as other employees from India, Asia and other countries throughout their tenure with the company.
“That is why she was very concerned with him not being here and if she left would she be able to come back,” Minard said. “We have assured her that we will help her with that.”