More Indians, and not just students but tourists and businesspersons, have been deported by the US in recent days, the external affairs ministry said on Wednesday.
The first reports about US deportations were about Indian students headed for two California universities. Some of them were turned away from Dubai, and the rest from San Francisco.
“Some Indian nationals travelling on business/tourism/work visas have also been deported,” the ministry said in an advisory, adding students admitted to other education institutions too were turned away.
While India has urged the US to “honour the visas issued by their own Embassy/Consulates”, the advisory said travellers must ensure they are carrying “proper authorization and capacities”.
The number of additional deportations remains unclear, but they are said to have taken place mostly at Chicago international airport — all previous ones were from San Francisco.
“They include holders of B-1 and B-2 US visas, for tourists and businesspersons, and H-1s, which are work permits,” said an external affairs ministry official on background.
“These are not fraud visas,” he added, “but genuine visas issued by the US — it seems one section of the US administration is not honouring what the other one is doing.”
While not apologising or offering to end deportations, Americans have assured India they are not country-specific, and not based on profiling of Indians or some of them.
“They have told us that look at these deportations in the context of the overall numbers,” another official said. “About 150,000 Indian students have been allowed into the US this year alone.”
The deportation of students — numbers remain unclear — represents but a tiny portion of the total. It could not be ascertained if it was any different from other years.
Enhanced scrutiny at US ports and points of entry following the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks could be a reason, though not cited officially, for these deportations.
The US has told India each deportation followed individual specific assessment — not a blanket authority — during which information gaps and inaccuracies were noticed.
“According to the US Government, the deported persons had presented information to the border patrol agent which was inconsistent with their visa status,” the MEA advisory said.
“Apart from travel documents, the students should also carry all required documentation regarding their study plans, housing, financial support, healthcare arrangements etc. and be prepared for admission (entry to the US) interviews with U.S. immigration officials,” the advisory said.
It also advised other Indian travellers to make sure they had everything in order as well: proof of place of stay, financial support, medical arrangements and sponsorship details.