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Post 2013, manifold rise in Indian asylum seekers in US

The Tribune 2018-06-24 01:20:00
Over 8,000 sought refuge from 2014 to 2016, says Punjabi body

The number of Indians seeking asylum in the US registered a three-fold rise in 2014 — the year the NDA government came to power. While 722 Indians sought asylum in the US in 2013, the number rose to 2,412 in 2014. This has been claimed by the US-based North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) as per information received from the US Immigration Department under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Received in July 2016 by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services under the US Department of Homeland Security, the information is regarding the cases of Indian asylum seekers in the US and those who were granted asylum until May 2016. In another information received by NAPA, there are 67 detention facilities in the US where persons of the Indian origin have been lodged. This information is based on statistics received by NAPA until November 2016. From 2012 to May 2016, as many as 9,370 Indians have sought asylum in the US, including 8,648 in three years — 2014, 2015 and 2016 (until May). Of these 9,370 Indians, 476 have been granted asylum by the US. As many as 384 Indians were granted asylum from 2014 to May 2016. According to information, in 2012 as many as 722 Indians had sought asylum in the US, in 2014 the number increased to 2,412 and in 2015 it doubled to 4,534. In 2016, until May, the number of asylum seekers was 1,802. The number of Indians who have been granted asylum is 92 in 2013, 144 in 2014, 181 in 2015 and 59 in 2016. Expressing concern about the increasing number of Indian asylum seekers in the US, Executive Director, NAPA, Satnam Singh Chahal, said, “A three-time increase in Indian asylum seekers soon after the NDA government came to power in 2014 and seven-fold rise (compared to 2013) in 2015 in the Indian-origin asylum seekers is a major concern for the Indian-American community. It might be due to unemployment in the country, but other factors, including intolerance, can’t be ruled out.” He said, “The NAPA urges the Government of India that the increasing number of Indian asylum seekers in the US is an embarrassment not only to the Indian Government, but also for the Indians residing abroad. The matter should be carefully looked into by the Centre.” Man makes efforts to ensure son’s stay in America The father of a Hoshiarpur youth, who is lodged in the Otero Processing Centre, Texas, said, “We had given $15,000 to a lawyer to ensure our son’s stay in the US. The liaison person and the Indian lawyer gave only $500 further and pocketed the rest of the money. An improper lawyer has been hired for my son there who has misinformed the US authorities about his age, which is 19 and listed as 26. We sought asylum because we are peasants and a Sikh minority here. What would he do after coming back? We have spent lakhs of rupees on our son. He has a problem in spinal cord — which has aggravated due to hours of sitting in the prison at Otero. He is currently in a hospital and is being taken care of properly.”

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