An Indian woman seeking asylum in the United States after she entered the country illegally has been separated from her five-year-old disabled child, the Washington Post reported. Bhavan Patel, 33, was granted a $30,000 bond by a Arizona court on June 26, the report added. It was not clear whether she has been reunited with the child.
Patel is among the hundreds of people, including about 100 Indians, who were detained after Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy against undocumented immigrants who cross into the United States was implemented in May. The policy, which allows prosecution of adults who enter the country illegally, has resulted in separation of an estimated 2,300 children from their families, sparking widespread outrage that forced Trump to sign an executive order to end the practice.
This is, however, the first case that has come to light of an Indian national getting separated from her child at the U.S. border, PTI reported.
The report did not say when Patel was arrested. She fled Gujarat with her son due to political persecution, and traveled to Greece and Mexico, from where she tried to enter the United States, the report cited her and her attorney Alinka Robinson as saying during the bond hearing.
“Her son is not doing well,” Robinson said, requesting Judge Irene C Feldman to grant Patel a $10,000 bond so she could “reunite with her son,” according to the publication. The proceedings were translated into Gujarati for Patel through a telephonic translator.
The prosecutor from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the court that Patel was a flight risk, following which the judge asked her how she came to the United States, and whether a smuggler was involved in the process.
Patel replied that her brother had made arrangements for her travel and that no smuggler was paid, the report added.
The judge then set her bond at $30,000.
The Indian embassy in the United States had earlier said that it is making efforts to contact the Indian nationals who have been detained over charges of illegal entry into the country. A federal judge earlier this week ruled that immigration lawyers should be given access to the immigrants being held at a Oregon prison. Among the detainees at the Sheridan Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) in Oregon are 52 Indians, mostly Sikhs from Punjab. Another 42 Indians are detained at the Otero County Detention Center in New Mexico.