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The United States Of The World

We are “a nation of immigrants”, every American politician proclaims, at the stump or at Congressional hearings, though some less volubly than others. Usually, that politician will tell his or her listeners and viewers that his or her great grandfather or grandmother or, as it happens with some younger politicians, his or her father and mother came to this country in search of the good life, a good education, or to flee from some oppressor or some oppressive religion. But those who loudly claim that the United States is a nation of immigrants forget the fact that there is still a small number of native Americans who have been here for a long, long time, and would balk at being called immigrants! Be that as it may, the idea that we are a nation of immigrants kind of holds true because the country that attracts the largest number of migrants from around the world, legal or illegal, is still this United States of America.

So, it did not come as a surprise when Mexico recently deported some 300 young Indians who tried to cross the border from Mexico into the US. The young men, and one woman, all claimed that they were being persecuted or religiously discriminated in India, and a report last year claimed that Indians were arriving in droves into Mexico and paying smugglers up to $ 25,000 for the opportunity to enter the land of guns, drugs, and gas station attendant opportunities or to increase the Khalistan support groups spread across California and parts of Canada. I remember, back in the 1990s, one of my Indian students at a university in Missouri where I taught, telling me that he had applied for asylum because, as a Catholic from Goa, he was being persecuted by the Indian government and oppressed at home! Well, maybe that is one reason why we have more Indian Christians in the US than any other religious group: while only about 2.5% of the Indian population is Christian, they constitute about 18-20% of the Indian immigrant population here. America indeed is a Christian nation, for those who think or believe otherwise…

Illegal immigration and population migration seem to have become a much larger problem in the present than it was at any time before, except may be after the two World Wars, or may be after some ravages of the plague or famine in the past. A report in the BBC a few years ago claimed that there was more movement of people now than in the past whereas there were some who said it was no more now than in the 1970s.

I came to the United States in 1985, more of an “accidental” immigrant than a planned/purposeful one. We Indians are thrice or four times as many now than we were in 1985, and even in the town of about 200,000 people where I live now, there are nearly a hundred Indian doctors, and every other gas station or motel seems to be owned by our very own. Of course, more diversity does not necessarily lead to more acceptance as both commonsense and new research shows — here and here. In a small town in Missouri, just one among a handful of Indians, my wife and I were welcomed, and we were a curiosity. In larger towns and cities, we might very well incur the wrath of neighbours or demonised by strangers.

They say that with the election of Donald Trump, immigrants have become targets, as anyone who is not white is suspect in MAGA country. But then, as with almost all human indices, there is a regression to the mean, and despite the worries of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, we see a decline in the number of news reports on hate crimes. When some of my Indian friends talk about an increase in hate crimes, I ask them to think back about the situation in India, and especially in their hometowns, and whether the phenomenon of even internal migration leads to conflict: think Mumbai, think Bengaluru, think Kolkata… or wherever there is a significant number of “outsiders” and observe the dynamic between the “locals” and the “outsiders”. In the Rajajinagar neighbourhood in Bengaluru, where my family continues to live, we see more pani-poori vendors than the aambode vendors of yore. And yes, none in my circle of family and friends like that. Americans are no different.

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India

Mexico deports 311 Indians trying to infiltrate into US

The dreams of more than 300 Indians were shattered when they were deported back to India on Friday for attempting to illegally sneak into the US via Mexico. The Mexican Immigration Authority has deported more than 300 people, including a woman, to India. People across the world are reported every year as chased by an American dream but lacking the credentials that could make them enter the US legitimately.

As many as 311 Indians were sent back to India escorted by 74 Mexican officers on chartered flights. Many of them had spent lakhs of rupees bribing some Mexican authorities to let them walk through a forest to infiltrate the US.

Jaspreet Singh, who was deported to India, said that the group had arrived at the airport at about 5 AM today. After that, it took several hours for the paperwork. “We came out of the airport at around PM,” he said.

Singh informed journalists at the airport that most of these dubious travellers hailed from Punjab and Haryana.

At the IGI airport, some of the Indians who were deported

The National Immigration Institute (INM) of Mexico said in a press release issued on Wednesday that people of Indian origin who did not have sufficient grounds to live there had been flown to New Delhi from the Toluca City International Airport.

These people were presented to authorities from Oaxaca, Baja, California, Veracruz, Sonora, Mexico City, Durango and Tabasco.

There was a 19-year-old Mandeep among those who were deported to India, who had left Patiala in June. Mandeep finished his school and left home with an American dream in his heart. Mandeep said that he had travelled to seven countries. His first destination was Ecuador and, finally, he had reached Mexico.

Mandeep said, ‘We continued walking in the Panama forest for about seven days. We reached Mexico on 12 September. We were about 800 km from the US before the Mexico authority caught us and sent us back to India.”

Mandeep said he saw corpses in many places as they walked through the jungle. These corpses belonged to those who were trying to reach America across the jungle of Panama. They were asked to stop and then fired at.

Sahil Malik, 22, says that he left Delhi for Ecuador on 5 June. He said that he had reached Mexico by using different modes of transport and crossing the borders in buses.

Thirty-four-year-old Kamaljeet is another Indian who has been deported. Kamaljeet, a resident of Jalandhar, said that she had spent Rs 53 lakh for the trip with her husband and son.

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India

7 Rohingya deported to Myanmar after Supreme Court refuses to intervene

New Delhi: India on Thursday deported seven Rohingya immigrants, who have been staying in Assam illegally, to their country of origin Myanmar, in a first such move.

The illegal immigrants were detained in 2012 and since then they had been lodged in Cachar Central Jail in Assam’s Silchar.

“Seven Myanmarese nationals have been deported today. They were handed over to the authorities of Myanmar at Moreh border post in Manipur,” Assam Additional Director General of Police (Border) Bhaskar J Mahanta said.

Consular access had been given to Myanmar diplomats, who confirmed the identity of the immigrants, Mahanta said.

The confirmation of the Myanmarese citizenship of the illegal immigrants came after the government of the neighbouring country verified their addresses in Rakhine State and all of them were given travel documents by Myanmar.

This is for the first time Rohingya immigrants were sent back to Myanmar from India.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court rejected the plea made by one of the Rohingya refugees seeking to restrain the Centre from deporting them to Myanmar.

Allowing the deportation of the seven Rohingya Muslims, the Supreme Court said they were found by the competent court as illegal immigrants and have been accepted by their country of origin as citizens.

“Having considered the prayer, we would not like to interfere with the decision taken. The petition is dismissed,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph said.

“Even the country of their origin has accepted them as its citizens,” it said.

The Centre told the apex court that the seven Rohingya illegally migrated to India in 2012 and were convicted under the Foreigners Act.

The Centre also informed the court that Myanmar has issued a certificate of identity to the seven immigrants along with a one-month visa to facilitate their deportation.

Those who were deported include Md Jamal, Mohbul Khan, Jamal Hussain, Md Yonus, Sabir Ahmed, Rahim Uddin and Md Salam and are in the age bracket of 26-32 years.

The Indian government had informed Parliament last year that over 14,000 Rohingya people, registered with the UN refugee agency UNHCR, stay in India. However, aid agencies estimate there are about 40,000 Rohingya people in the country.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, described by the UN as the most persecuted minority in the world, fled their homes last year to escape an alleged crackdown by the Myanmarese military.

Human rights group Amnesty International has blamed Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the country’s government for “burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State”.

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Editorial Views

No Country For Hindus

The apathy the Vasundhara Raje government betrays towards the plight of Hindus, besides no great economic measures to transform the State of Rajasthan, is appalling. The callous manner in which more than a thousand Pakistani Hindus were deported from India, back to the dangerous country that they had fled, flies in the face of the BJP’s claim that it is a “Hindu nationalist” organisation (never mind the international connotation of “nationalism”). On the one hand, the philanthropists and social workers, who have been working for the rehabilitation of the refugees, got no cooperation from the State government. On the other, commoners complain of a total lack of redress of their daily woes in existing business and jobs as well as potential entrepreneurship and employment. However, predicting a doom for the BJP in Rajasthan does not address the urgent issue in hand: 500 Hindus will be forced to turn Muslims with the daybreak of 25 March in southern Sindh of Pakistan. Though the Rajasthan High Court intervened a bit too late to stay the deportation order when the train taking the hapless Hindus had crossed over to Pakistan already, one finds that the judiciary that is facing a lot of flak of late for being “anti-Hindu” still fared better than the self-styled flag-bearers of Hindutva who have been ruling the country for the past four years. This despite the fact that the demands and expectations of an average Hindu from the Narendra Modi government are mostly secular! Hardly any international body would have slammed the Government of India or that of a province therein if, in this case, the local BJP government had offered the reason of human rights to allow the hapless Pakistanis to not return to their native towns and villages in Pakistan. With their girls threatened of abduction and rape, every year hundreds of Pakistani Hindus seek visas on the ground of some festivity to reach India with a hope against hope that the nation of their ancient civilisation wouldn’t kick them out mercilessly. It is disgusting if their plea is unable to move Raje. Modi cannot be held responsible for this indifference because more than 4,000 refugees of the type have been offered Indian citizenship already. Were they fortunate to not land in Raje’s territory?

If Raje is not Hindu or humane enough, is she not a political animal either? The country is constantly pushed back due to the Muslim influence in elections, as the Islamists demand nothing progressive for themselves either. Their wants revolve around Shari’ah laws in civil cases, Waqf laws to latch on to mediaeval properties and promotion of madrassahs and Urdu in education. The situation is aggravated by Bangladeshi infiltrators whom the ‘secular’ governments happily offer means to prove they are Indians. In a constituency where the percentage of Muslim voters increases substantially, development and modernity become impossible. Is it too challenging for the intellect of the Rajasthan chief minister to appreciate that the addition of Hindu voters would neutralise the damage to some extent? And what price does India need to pay these Pakistani Hindus? So far, they have demanded nothing more than mainstream education for their children and subsistence for the elders.

In the same context, leftists like West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee might question why Rohingyas cannot be accommodated, too. They cannot. Burmese Rohingyas and Pakistani Hindus are chalk and cheese. The Hindus, mostly daily-wage labourers in the agricultural fields of a feudal Pakistan, have no record in terrorism; the people unwanted in Myanmar do. Modi, known for his oratory skills can surely impress this difference upon his detractors. But before handling the adversaries, he must do something about Vasundhara Raje, as this chant grows louder in Rajasthan: “Modi tujh se bair nahin; Vasundhara teri khair nahin” (Modi, we have nothing against you, but we wouldn’t spare Vasundhara).

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India

Jammu: RSS supports demand for deportation of Rohingyas

Jammu: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) today supported the demand for deportation of illegal Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, saying their presence in Jammu and Kashmir posed a security threat to the country.

We do not consider them as refugees as they are foreigners and have entered in our country illegally, RSS Prant Sanghchalak, Brig (Retd) Suchait Singh said.

Singh, who was flanked by Prant Kariwah Parshotam Dadichi, said the State and the central governments should identify the illegally settled Rohingyas and Bangladeshis and sent them back.

Why should we tolerate them when they pose a security threat to the nation as well as the State, Singh said.

Criticising the previous UPA government at the centre and National Conference-Congress coalition government in the State for allowing them to settle down in Jammu, RSS said they are totally responsible for the agitation over the deportation of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis in Jammu.

What is their motive behind settling them in Jammu is best known to them? We see their presence as a threat and want their early eviction, the former Army officer said.

Hundreds of Rohingya families have found refuge in the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir State, living in temporary homes made up of branches and shrubs and covered with plastic sheets.

According to United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), thousands of unregistered refugees are living in elsewhere in India. The Rohingya are among an estimated 10 million stateless people worldwide.

Security forces are increasingly noticing the use of the word ‘Burmi’ in conversations between militants. “Rakhine militants are known to have direct links with ISI [Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence] and we are not ruling this connection out. They have a victimhood narrative of being wronged by non-Muslims. There are definitive leads that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba is trying to exploit them for carrying out terror activities in India and Bangladesh,” the officer says.

These revelations are unnerving. They have led to calls for the deportation of the Rohingya.

It’s not for the first time that Sunjwan army base of Jammu was under attack. The cantonment is surrounded by Madrasas & Mosques where huge numbers of illegal Rohingyas are settled.