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India’s embassy in the US says it has established contact with two immigration detention centres where nearly 100 Indians, mostly from Punjab, are being held for illegally entering the country through its southern border.

The embassy says a consular official has visited a facility in the northwestern state of Oregon.

As for the other facility in the southern border state of New Mexico, where officials say 40 to 45 Indians are being held, the Indian embassy says a consular visit is scheduled.

“We are monitoring the situation,” the foreign mission said.

According to officials, around 40-42 Indians are at a federal detention centre in the Southern American State of New Mexico while 52 Indians, mostly Sikhs and Christians, are held in Oregon. The embassy says a consular official has visited a facility in the northwestern state of Oregon.

“Most of the detainees are from Punjab. They’ve been held for illegal entry through the US border with Mexico. Under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, over 2,340 children were parted from their parents in just 35 days in May and June at the southern border, Reuters reported.

Twitter Ads info and privacy American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a non-profit, says legal teams were denied access to the Oregon facility. It says 121 people — including the Indians — are being held there. Jai Singh, a field organizer at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, says the number is 123. The majority of them, he says, are South Asians who speak Hindi or Punjabi.”As reported in the Oregonian, several identified themselves as Sikhs or Christians fleeing religious persecution. These detainees are isolated, have limited access to interpretation, and are at risk of abuse in the current housing prison arrangement,” he says.

President Donald Trump’s new zero-tolerance policy prosecutes and parts families of anyone unauthorised to enter the country, including people leaving their native country as political refugees to seek asylum protection.

Satnam Singh Chahal, of the North American Punjabi Association (NAPA), said that thousands of Indians, with an overwhelming majority of them being from Punjab, are languishing in jails in the US.

According to information obtained by NAPA through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) between three years of 2013, 2014 and 2015, more than 27,000 Indians were apprehended at the US border. Of these, over 4,000 were women and 350 were children.

He urged the Punjab government to strictly enforce human trafficking laws that have been passed by the State Assembly in recent years. According to immigration attorney Akansha Kalra, the largest numbers of Indians who enter the US illegally are from Punjab and Gujarat.

Sharing her experience from her practice at an event organised by the Hindu American Foundation early this week, Kalra said that young Indians in the 20s are crossing the border, PTI reported.

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