42 Indians Detained in New Mexico Over Illegal U.S. Entry
Indian embassy is monitoring the situation regarding the Indians held at Oregon and New Mexico in the United States.
Over 40 Indian immigrants are being held at a detention center in New Mexico over alleged attempts to enter the United States illegally, according to the Hindu. As many as 52 Indians, mostly Sikhs, are lodged at a facility in Oregon, reports that emerged earlier this week had said.
Indian embassy officials are establishing contact with the Indian immigrants held at the two centers. “We have established contacts with both the detention facilities. A consular official has visited the detention facility in Oregon and another one is scheduled to visit the detention facility in New Mexico. We are monitoring the situation,” the embassy said in a statement.
The Indian embassy contacted the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after it got to know about the detainees at New Mexico from community members. The ICE confirmed that at least 42 Indians are housed at the Otero County Detention Center in New Mexico, which is close to the El Paso border crossing from Mexico, according to the publication.
The Indian embassy has got the names of the those held at Oregon and New Mexico from the ICE, the report added. Most of them are Sikhs from Punjab while a few are Christians from Andhra Pradesh. “From what we understand now, these are single men. And they seem to have paid large amounts of money to touts who helped them cross into the U.S,” a source familiar with the developments who did not want to be named was quoted as saying in the report.
While over a dozen of the Indian detainees are being held at the New Mexico center for months, the others were brought to the center about a week ago, NDTV reported.
The 52 Indians being held at the Sheridan prison in Yamhill county, Oregon, are facing harsh conditions, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici wrote in her blog earlier this week. “Through our Punjabi translator, we learned that these men were planning to request asylum because they faced severe religious persecution in India. Most are Sikh or Christian. Instead they were incarcerated in a federal prison,” Bonamici had said earlier.
The immigrant detainees have been rounded up following the “zero tolerance” policy launched in May by the Donald Trump administration over illegal entry into the United States. The tough measures being taken by the U.S. authorities, including separation of minor children from their families, sparked global outcry, leading Trump to sign on June 20 an executive order to maintain family unity of migrants.