This week, the United States is going to send back 161 Indian nationals by a special chartered flight which will take them to Punjab’s Amritsar. Most of them had entered the country from its southern border with Mexico and had exhausted all legal options.

Among the 161 Indians, 76 are from Haryana, 56 from Punjab and 12 from Gujarat, five from Uttar Pradesh, four from Maharashtra and two each from Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala while one from Andhra Pradesh and Goa. 

The executive director of North American Punjabi Association (NAPA), Satnam Singh Chahal said the Indians are among the 1739 Indians languishing in 95 jails across the US. All of them were detained by the  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for entering the US illegally. As per an ICE report, the US deported 611 Indian nationals in 2018, which rose over two-and-a-half times to 1,616 in 2019.

According to the reports of NAPA, there are three women among the 161 and there are also two 19-year-old youths from Haryana, reported to be the youngest.  “The fate of the remaining Indians languishing in the US jails is still unknown,” Satnam Singh Chahal, the director of NAPA said.

However, no data is available to show from which Indian states those languishing in the US jails came, most of them are believed to be from North India.  As per reports, most of the detainees have urged for asylum claiming they have experienced violence or persecution in their home country. The US judges have  repeatedly refused their application over the past few years.

Mr. Chahal has been working among them for years alleging that  there is a nexus of human traffickers and officials in north India, particularly in Punjab. These traffickers work as agents and charge Rs 35-50 lakh from each individual. The Punjab government has asked the central government to take stringent measures against these illegal agents.

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