Stating that there was no larger issue involved in cases of Indian students, mainly from Telangana and AP, who were sent back from the United States a couple of months ago, a senior US embassy official today noted that each of these cases should be looked at differently.
Michael Pelletier, Deputy Ambassador of US in Delhi, said the Indian students were welcome to study in America.
“India is the second largest sender of foreign students to the United States,” he said.
On being asked about the issue of Indian students being sent back on arrival from the US in recent times, he said they were “turned around” and not “deported”.
“When we saw the news about the students who were turned around, they weren’t deported but they were turned around….,” he told reporters here.
Media reports had suggested that there were about 500 such cases but Pelletier said he did not have the numbers on those “turned around”.
Asked what went wrong in the episode, he said, “Each is an individual case. What I can say is, as a general rule, the immigration officials, when you apply for permission to enter the states at the border crossing (whether that’s an airport or a port or land crossing), the border officials are going to want to hear your reason for study. They will look at your visa and they want to see the documentation that supports that.
“If there is some reason to believe that you are traveling on the wrong visa or that your purpose is not aligned with the visa, then they may have issues or they may not be able to admit you to the states…”
There cannot be any generalised view on the students who were “turned around”, the US embassy official said.
“Each decision is made on a case by case basis. The immigration officer will look at each person who is applying for admission into the United States as an individual.
“I think if there is a larger conclusion–there are 1,30,000 people studying successfully in the US and contributing to the economy… But otherwise, for the people who were not granted admission, you would have to look at each case,” Pelletier said.
The official said the embassy worked with the Ministry of External Affairs, local governments in India and also the department of homeland security and US to figure out the issue following reports of Indian students being sent back.
On reports of some students who were not granted admission being handcuffed in the airports, Pelletier said he cannot comment on specific cases. He, however, added that efforts are being made to see that those not granted admission are treated fairly.
The US official noted the students who wish to study in America should follow the due process and complete the paper work.
“So, I think each case (of students not granted admission) is very different. But what we have found out and keep insisting is that as I said, we very much welcome the visit of bonafide students to the United States. Students who want to travel and study in the US should really take advantage of the education USA resources…
“They should have the right purpose, the right documents, the right papers that support their desire to go to the states and I think education USA talks about a five-step process that they should go through. If you follow that process, you get the right information and you should not have any difficulty…,” Pelletier said.
Those who have been “turned around” can apply afresh but it is a lengthy and expensive process, he added.