Following US President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement that 30 lakh illegal immigrants would be deported, Punjabis in the country feel that it would be a major setback to that economy. However, another section believes it could also check unscrupulous travel agents.
According to Satnam Singh Chahal, director, North America Punjabi Association (NAPA), business in the US will be considerably affected as several, including eateries and construction, thrive on the illegal migrant manpower.
“Among the Indian illegal immigrants, the large number is of Punjabis and most of them are employed in farms and if they are deported, then the farm industry will be adversely affected,” he said. “There are cases where the children are legal because they are born there but parents do not have any documents. They may have spent several decades there and are law-abiding but they don’t have the proper papers. How then will deportation be justified?,” said Chahal, adding that several illegal immigrants pay taxes too.
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“One of my relatives spent Rs 40 lakh to send their son to the USA through a travel agent a few months ago and now if he is deported, they would not be able to pay the loans they had taken for the trip,” said Amandeep Singh, who has been living in USA for a decade. He accepted that such a trend is not advisable and should not be resorted to.
However, the practice needs to be curbed and such measures may help end the illegal immigration business, another NRI felt.
“I feel this decision may check the illegal business of the unscrupulous travel agents in Punjab who have been trapping the innocent and gullible youth with a promise of entry in USA which is not only dangerous but hugely troublesome,” said Kewal Kumar from California.
Several from Punjab have died on the to the USA after paying hefty amounts. It takes months to reach the US illegally.
Earlier this year, Ravinder Singh (16) died while crossing a river to the US. His father, Gurpal Singh, said Ravinder was sent through an agent.