At least 21 Indian students were recently deported in a single day from the United States, raising worries about visa-related issues. The incidents occurred at Chicago, Atlanta, and San Francisco airports. Many of these students, from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, had completed their visa procedures and arrived in the United States with the intention of pursuing higher education.
According to reports in Deccan Herald, these students were detained for a short period of time after immigration agents thoroughly checked their documents. Students expressed their confusion, claiming that they had met all of the conditions for their visas and were ready to start their classes in their respective colleges.
Reportedly, the students claimed that they were not provided appropriate information on why they were sent back and suspected it had something to do with their visa papers.
Some students said that their phones, including WhatsApp communications, were also searched. Others claimed they were told to leave peacefully and threatened with serious legal consequences if they objected. Some claimed that the common universities to which they were on their way included those in Missouri and South Dakota.
According to the website 7am.com, the students described “being confined in small quarters without appropriate communication following their checks." They were also “threatened with imprisonment," the website mentioned.
Deportation repercussions have reportedly left students coping not only with the loss of time, finances, and future opportunities but also with the distressing implications of severe US regulations. The five-year prohibition imposed on those judged inadmissible following deportation is particularly noteworthy.
Due to COVID-19, the United States has implemented stricter visa regulations for international students, potentially compelling Indian and Chinese students to return home or face deportation. The Mint had previously reported that these laws prevent students from completing their education online in response to concerns about quality and economic implications.
As per reports, around 2,02,000 Indian students and 3,69,000 Chinese students’ study in the United States, accounting for a sizable proportion of international students. As a result of COVID-19, an estimated 40 per cent-50 per cent of Indian students have already gone home.