Cuffed, deported, barred entry to U.S.

A student who was sent back from the United States being consoled by his relatives at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad on Saturday.– Photo: K.V.S. Giri  

Immigration for students with admit cards issued by the Silicon Valley University and Northwestern Polytechnic Universities has turned into a nightmare for many this New Year. While earlier, they faced only the risk of deportation, experience recounted by a new batch of students deported from the United States reveal that some were also handcuffed and barred entry to the country for five years.

Four students, including a girl, out of the 40 who landed in the city’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport on January 1 and 2 confirmed that they were handcuffed and questioned in interrogation rooms at Boston’s immigration wing. Worse, their deportation records (copies of which are with The Hindu ) issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), stated that under “Sections 235 (b)(1) or 240 of the act (Immigration and Nationality Act), they are barred from “entering, attempting to enter or being in the United States.”

This because the DHS had found them to be “Visa Waiver Pilot Programme violators”, which among many definitions of the term could mean people who try to enter the country without proper documentation and immigrate to gratify intentions other than those permitted by the visa they hold.

“Each of us was questioned by two officers. We showed all original documents and the required bank details. But they deported us and our handcuffs were removed only after we boarded the return flight,” said a Hyderabad based student who was barred for five years from entering the country.

The students had flown from the city to the U.S. in a private airline via Dubai and landed in Boston. According to another student, it was not the language barrier that caused deportation. “Going by their questions, the officers seemed to suspect us of fraud and maybe that is why they handcuffed us,” he said. Students who are barred entry will now have to seek legal help. The U.S. authorities drew the ire of the Ministry of External Affairs when they radio-tagged Telugu students who had taken admission to the Tri Valley University that was declared fraudulent in 2011.

Of the 40 students who have been deported in the past two days, most returned from Seattle, others from San Francisco and Boston.

Till recently, deportation documents issued to most students by the DHS were forfeiting receipts, till some started barring entry. As per the forfeiting forms, the students sign a document which states that they be “permitted to withdraw” their “application and return abroad.”

A girl student who flew to Seattle via Heathrow, London, said that she felt humiliated and insulted.

“I had Rs. 40 lakh in my bank account and answered all their questions with confidence,” she spoke as her voice choked with emotion.

Those who were planning to leave the country to join the universities have now taken a step back. “I was supposed to travel this month,” a student who cancelled the tickets said.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 7:29:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/Cuffed-deported-barred-entry-to-U.S./article13977660.ece

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