Over 140 Indians deported from US

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Updated on Nov 21, 2019 10:57 AM IST
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ByAdrija Roychowdhury

New Delhi By September, Sukhwinder Singh had already completed a year of working at a grocery store in San Diego, California, when a sudden raid by immigration authorities brought an unexpected end to his sojourn in a country he had always wanted to live in

On Wednesday, the resident of Kaithal in Haryana landed in handcuffs at the New Delhi International Airport along with 145 other Indians who were deported from the US on a special flight that took 30 hours from Flores in Arizona where they boarded the plane.

In June, US president Donald Trump tweeted that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency would soon begin deporting millions of illegal aliens who had illicitly found their way into the United States. On October 23, the US deported 117 Indians.On October 23, 311 illegal Indian immigrants were deported to India by Mexico, which acted after being threatened by the Trump administration with tariffs on all Mexican imports.

“So many people from my village go to US. This had never happened before {2019}. Just this year because of Trump, they have sent us back,” said 20-year-old Sukhwinder Singh, who left for the US in August 2017 and entered the country through the Mexico border.

The special flight on Wednesday came via Bangladesh, where it dropped off 25 illegal immigrants from that country who had found their way to the US. Among the Indian deportees, who included three women, a majority were from Punjab and Haryana and a few from Gujarat, all in the age group of 20-35.

Almost all the deportees said they had been duped by local agents who promised them safe entry into the US through various routes in return for fees amounting to anything between Rs.20 lakh and Rs. 30 lakh.

The prospect of leading a comfortable life in the US, from the stories they had heard America-based friends and relatives narrate, drove them to make the journey, they said.

While Singh managed to stay undisturbed in America for about a year, there were others who made the trip through European or South American countries only to be caught soon after they crossed over the Mexican border.

Jasveer Singh, 30, who stepped into America one-and-a-half years ago, through Greece, Italy and Mexico, said he was part of a group that was met “by human traffickers at Mexico City who were in touch with our agents.”

One of them “kept us in a room for 10-12 days and then drove us to the border. There he ordered us to cross over at gunpoint,” Jasveer Singh recalled.

“As soon as we jumped over the border, we were picked up by the US border officials who took us to a police station and then from there to detention camps,” said Jasveer Singh, who spent a year at a detention camp in Texas before being deported.

Rajeev Kumar, 26, a resident of Jind in Haryana said he too was detained by US border guards soon after he crossed the Mexican border.

“When I contacted my agent from the asylum {detention camp} , he lied to me that these were normal official proceedings being done. He even extracted an additional Rs. 3 lakh from my family as lawyers’ fees for helping me get out of the situation,” he said.

Jabarjung Singh, 25, a mechanical engineer from Bhatinda, said it was his fourth attempt to enter the US, the first time having been in June 2018.

“Last time I travelled in May this year through Russia, France and Mexico. I was immediately picked up by officials from the border,” he said. “I do not know what to do now. Maybe I will try for Canada next time.”

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