52 Indian asylum-seekers detained in Oregon under Trump's zero-tolerance policy; claim they are locked up for 23 hours a day

Some of the Indians detained in the US under Trump's immigration policy identified themselves as Sikhs and Christians fleeing persecution by the Hindu majority in India.

FP Staff June 20, 2018 14:26:04 IST
52 Indian asylum-seekers detained in Oregon under Trump's zero-tolerance policy; claim they are locked up for 23 hours a day

Under the Donald Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy, 52 Indians have been detained in the United States. According to the Hindustan Times, the Indians are being held in a federal detention centre in Oregon, Washington, where they were transferred as part of a larger group of 123 people held for allegedly crossing into the US illegally through the Mexico border weeks ago.

52 Indian asylumseekers detained in Oregon under Trumps zerotolerance policy claim they are locked up for 23 hours a day

Migrants detained in the US. AP

According to a local news daily The Oregonian, four members of Oregon's congressional delegation — all Democrats — visited the detention facility. Some of the Indians identified themselves as Sikhs and Christians who claimed they were fleeing persecution by the Hindu majority in India.

The migrants told the Oregon politicians that they are kept locked up for 22 to 23 hours a day, three in a cell, and it has been difficult for them to talk to a lawyer. Those with families said they had no idea where their wives or children were, and they fear they will be deported and separated from them forever.

The new policy of the Trump administration, which came into effect in May, sought to maximise federal prosecutions of migrants caught trying to enter the US illegally. As a result, a higher number of adults are being put behind bars and their children are being separated from them. The Trump administration insists that the family separations are required under the law.

The US president called for arresting anyone who comes into the country illegally. "If you don't have borders, you don't have a country!... Be smart America," he said.

Since Attorney-General Jeff Sessions announced the policy in May, nearly 2,000 children have been taken away from their parents. Church groups and human rights advocates have sharply criticised the policy, calling it inhumane.

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