Shattered American Dream: 150 Deportees Return to India from US

Nearly 150 Indians returned home broke on Wednesday after being deported.

3 min read
Indian nationals, who entered either violated visa norms or illegally entered the United States, arrive at the IGI Airport in New Delhi.

Their American dream shattered and huge savings wasted, nearly 150 Indians returned home broke on Wednesday, 20 November, after being deported for either violating visa norms or for illegally entering the United States.

As they stepped outside the airport, one after the other, they appeared sad. Some said they felt dejected that they could not realise their American dream even after several attempts.

“This was the fourth time I have been deported,” said Jabarjung Singh, from Punjab’s Bhatinda. He said he wanted to find a job and settle in the US.

"First time, I planned to go to Mexico and reached Bangkok on 4 June 2018. When I did not get a Mexican visa, I returned to India. On 31 August that year, I again tried and reached Ecuador, but could not reach Mexico. I was sent back to India after 20 days in Ecuador.

"Then I went to Bangkok, then Myanmar, and reached Mexico on 17 February this year. But the security agencies did not allow me to leave the airport and sent me back," the 24-year-old mechanical engineer said.

On the fourth attempt, Jabarjung said, "I boarded a flight on May 15 (from Delhi) and reached Mexico via Moscow and Paris. From there, I tried to enter California on 28 May, but was caught by police and deported from Arizona."

He said he gave Rs 24 lakh to a Panchkula-based agent during the four attempts and spent six months in seven US camps before being deported to India.

Jabarjung said he was sad but not disheartened at his failed attempts.

"My family does not know about my deportation. From here, I will first go to my place in Bhatinda and will try to go to other countries for job later," he said.

The special aircraft carrying the deportees landed at the T3 terminal of the Delhi airport at 6 am on Wednesday, an airport official said. The aircraft reached India via Bangladesh.

After completing the paperwork with the Immigration Department, these 150 Indians came out of the airport.

This was the second batch of Indians being deported in large numbers this year. On 18 October, more than 300 Indians, including one woman, were deported by Mexico for illegally entering the country with an aim to sneak into the US.

Gurunek Singh, 24, who was among the deportees, said he went to the US six years ago.

"I spent Rs 20 lakh to reach US. When I was caught there as an illegal immigrant, the court asked me to sign a bond of $40,000. I worked at several places, including gas stations, general stores and also worked as a cab driver, and returned the bond amount," Gurunek said.

He said he was happy until he was caught by police again on other charges.

“I was caught and had 10 charges, including two drinking and driving, hit and run and possessing weed. Thereafter, the court had ordered to deport me from the country,” he said.

Gurunek said he will now try to go to Canada.

Lakhwinder Singh said he had given Rs 25 lakh to an Amritsar-based agent to help him enter the US.

"He sent me to Mexico on 2 May via Moscow and Paris. They (immigration officials) caught me when I was trying to cross the border and deported from Arizona," he said.

The 20-year-old said it was the first time he tried to go to a foreign nation illegally.

"Earlier, I tried to go to the US as my maternal grandparents live there, but did not get visa and chose this way. I spent over six months in refugee camps," Lakhwinder said.

"My father works in Dubai and now I will go there to find a job," he said.

Manpreet Singh, 25, a resident of Sultanpur in Punjab, said he spent Rs 25 lakh.

“In December 2017, I reached Mexico via Bangkok, China and Japan. I spent one and half month in Mexico but was caught by US security agencies when I tried to cross the border in February 2018,” Manpreet said.

He said a California court slapped a bond of half a million dollars.

"The court asked me to fill a bond of over half a million dollars which I was not able to return, following which they sent me back to the refugee camp and deported to India," he said.

Manpreet said his father works in Greece and around two months ago, he received permanent residency of that country.

"My father and uncle arranged the money to sent me to the US. Now I have planned to go to Canada as my sister, along with her family, lives there," he said.

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