The US has defended the deportation of Indian students headed for two California universities, but has quietly told India it is addressing the issue in a “problem-solving manner”.
Days after the Indian embassy here sought details of these deportations, it was told by the US on Thursday that “they are assessing the situation, looking at the facts and addressing the situation in a problem-solving manner”.
No details were available of what those steps will be.
The US has deported 26 to 30 Indian students (not 40, as reported earlier) newly admitted to Silicon Valley University and Northwestern Polytechnic University. No reasons were given to them or to the Indian government. The universities have denied they were blacklisted – the reason cited in reports for the deportations – and the US told HT these universities are “still certified” to admit foreign students.
Referring to the “Indian students recently refused entry”, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) told HT in response to a request for details on Thursday: “All of the actions taken by CBP at the ports of entry were based on CBP’s specific, individual determinations of each traveller’s intent.”
It added, “This was not a blanket approach to denying admission.” This may not explain why the students – who apparently had valid and required documents, including student visas issued by US missions in India – were turned away. Some of them were stopped in Dubai on their way to the US. There are reports they were detained there in cells meant for common criminals for hours.
Indian authorities in Dubai and in the US (San Francisco, where all the US deportations took place) didn’t know until much later as they were not notified, which is not required under law or protocol. The external affairs ministry issued a travel advisory this week asking other students to defer their plans till the situation becomes clearer. Indian officials have expressed helplessness in doing more. “They (the students) did everything right, went through the US visa process, which is quite exhaustive,” an official said.
Also, the two varsities they were headed to were legitimate, with required certification and accreditation, they said, adding they were “unlike Tri-Valley”, a California university busted in 2011.