Around 145 Indians, including three women, were deported from Arizona in the US and landed at Delhi airport on Wednesday.
This was the third batch of Indians to be deported in large numbers since October 18 for illegally entering Mexico in order to sneak into the US. Officials said that 200 others would arrive in the coming days.
An immigration official said that an aircraft carrying the deportees landed in India via Bangladesh at 6 am. “Most of them are 25-35 years old and hail from Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat. They were arrested six months ago for allegedly violating visa norms. On Wednesday, after completing paperwork with the immigration department, they were released. Intelligence agencies are trying to ascertain the kingpin of the racket,” the official said.
One of those deported, Vijay Kumar from Haryana’s Jind, told The Indian Express that his father gave Rs 15 lakh as advance payment to an agent from Panipat to arrange for his visa and job in the US.
“He asked for Rs 25 lakh. He told me to wear branded clothes when we were leaving for the US, but later we were told he was taking us somewhere else. We travelled for three months, during which two people died. After reaching the Mexico border, we were caught by immigration authorities,” he said.
Gurpreet Singh from Punjab’s Gurdaspur said, “I tried to go to the US as my grandparents live there, but did not get a visa. I spent six months in refugee camps.”
Immigration officials said that the deportees reached Mexico via multiple routes through South American and European countries.
On October 18, more than 300 Indians were deported by Mexico and another 117 were deported by the US on October 23. “In the coming days, more than 200 are coming,” an official said.