Approximately, 160 illegal Indian immigrants, comprising of 132 from Haryana and Punjab, will be deported from the United States in the forthcoming days. For deportation, the US authorities have conveyed the details of 161 Indian detainees to New Delhi ensuing the initiation of air evacuation operations for stranded Indian nationals due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Top officials stated that Ministry of external affairs (MEA) shared these details with the states following a recent meeting between foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the top brass of Haryana and Punjab governments.
Officials who did not want to get quoted stated that there are 76 illegal migrants from Haryana and 56 from Punjab at detention centres in Texas, Arizona, California, New York and Washington who are under the custody of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They are being readied for deportation. The ICE air operations, the air transportation arm of the US agency, eases the removal of aliens to destinations worldwide using air charter services.
A ministry of external affairs (MEA) official sanctioned to respond to media queries stated that the illegal migrants will be flown in by the US authorities. According to MEA’s press relation officer, “Though the transportation of deportees is not part of the evacuation operation to bring stranded Indians back from abroad, the MEA is making all necessary arrangements, including documentation, for the arrival of deportees. The deportees will be put at the disposal of the respective state governments after their arrival and will have to undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine”.
The hurried deportation process is clearly the consequence of an April 10 executive order of US president, Donald Trump imposing visa sanctions on countries that repudiate or unreasonably delay the acceptance of aliens who are their citizens, subjects, nationals, or residents after being asked to accept those aliens from the United States amidst the Covid-19 situation. The executive order stated that such an action has created unacceptable public health risks for Americans. “The United States must be able to effectuate the repatriation of foreign nationals who violate the laws of the United States”, said the presidential order which will cease to apply on December 31, unless extended. The presidential order would apply to illegal migrants also, officials said.
Earlier in March, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had assessed its detained population for high-risk cases to ascertain whether their continued detention was pertinent. As per a statement issued by ICE, Of this medical risk population, ICE released over 900 individuals after assessing their immigration history, criminal record, potential threat to public safety, flight risk, and national security concerns. ICE’s detained population has also steadily decreased by more than 7,000 individuals since March 1, 2020, as a result of the decrease in book-ins compared to this time previous year, combined with continued repatriations of illegal aliens.