52 Indian seeking asylum in US detained for illegal immigration

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New Delhi:

The United States has detained a group of 52 Indians, mostly Sikhs, for being part of a large contingent of illegal immigrants seeking asylum in the country.

A group Democratic lawmakers had recently visited the detention centre in Oregon State of the US, where the Indians were kept. Of the total 123 detainees, the 52 Indians form the largest group of illegal immigrants kept in the Sheridan detention centre.

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, who was part of the lawmaker’s group that visited the facility in Sheridan, said that the Indians were mostly Sikhs or Christians and were seeking asylum in the states due to severe “religious persecution” in India.

“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 wrote in her blog.

She wrote that the Indians told her that they came to the US seeking religious freedom but instead of that, they were being confined to a small cell for up to 22 hours. The added that other non-immigrant prisoners were getting more time out of cell than them.

“They said they came to the United States for religious freedom, but they felt as if they were ‘going crazy’ because they are being confined in small cells for up to 22 hours a day,” she said.

Another Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who visited the detention centre said, “This is a shameful hour in US history. I don’t care what your stance on immigration is, no one should favour ripping children out of their parents’ arms.”

Blumenauer accused President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions of being “xenophobic” and said that they were using “zero tolerance” policy on immigration.

“The administration is criminalising families who are fleeing abuse and violence and separating children as ICE detains or deports their parents,” Blumenauer said in a statement.

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