After 10+ years of practice in the US, 2 Houston neurologists from India told to leave

Practice Management

Two Houston physicians who have practiced in the United States for more than 10 years were given 24 hours to leave the country earlier this week. Both physicians — husband and wife — were immigrants from India living and working legally in the United States, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

Pankaj Satija, MD, and his wife Monika Ummat, MD, are both neurologists. Dr. Satija helped found the Pain and Headache Centers of Texas and performs on average 200 operations a month; when he was asked to leave the country, he had 90 patient visits scheduled for the week.


Dr. Ummat's practice focuses on epilepsy at Texas Children's Hospital. The physicians have two children born in the United States as well.


However, Customs and Border Protections officials informed the physicians their permits for living and working in the U.S. were revoked and they had one day to return to India. Wishing to stay in the U.S., the two called their legislators and lawyers to help reverse their fate and when they reported to Bush International Airport to leave the country, they received a three months humanitarian parole to stay.


The humanitarian parole allows immigrants to stay due to a "compelling emergency" and the extra time allows them to get their paperwork in order for more permanent residency. The humanitarian parole is uncommon, according to the report.


Houston Methodist Hospital agreed to sponsor Dr. Satija for a green card in 2008, but the system for Indian immigrants is so backed up that only those applying before 2008 have received their green cards.


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