- According to one of the 56 persons of Indian-origin arrested on charges of illegal entry into the US, unknown men had transported them to Mexico via Moscow, Havana, Ecuador, El Salvador, Surinam , Guatemala, and gave them two options of either crossing over to US or jump into the water below and die at El Paso.
- Earlier at Surinam, their passports and other documents were taken away by these men, and since they did not have papers classifiying them as ‘Entry without inspection’ they could be subjected to mandatory detention and deportation.
- These men had reportedly sought asylum in the US on ground of political harassment in India, and their family members who were trying to build them the case for asylum have run into roadblocks such as the asylum officer in charge refusing to return their calls.
- Many of these had passed the ‘credible fear interviews’, which is only the preliminary step in the asylum-seeking process which next requires filing of Affirmative Asylum Application, which these men had failed to do.
- At least 37 of these detainees went on a hunger strike opposing the harsh treatment meted out to them, and were subsequently hospitalized.
- The representatives of the Indian Consulate in Houston met these detainees and expressed readiness to grant travel documents after establishing their origin. However, according to the detainees, the officer said that there are no chances of them receiving visa since they were not engineers, doctors or even graduates.
- This case has brought to limelight the increasing number of human trafficking in Punjab that has traumatized people, whose only priority now is to obtain freedom.
- Read at: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/us-asylum-dreams-of-punjabi-detainees-unravelling/article5984143.ece