Nepal | August 12, 2020

18 Nepali asylum seekers held in Oregon, USA

REUTERS
Share Now:
Nepali migrant workers

Illustration: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/THT

PORTLAND: At least 72 South Asian asylum-seekers are being detained at a federal prison in Oregon after getting caught up in the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy for illegal border-crossers, a US Senator’s office said on Wednesday.

The detainees, held at the Sheridan Federal Corrections Institution, include 52 from India, 18 from Nepal and two from Bangladesh.

All of them are single men, who flew into Mexico and crossed the border into the United States, said Sara Hottman, a spokeswoman for US Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat.

A total of 123 are being held at the prison, representing 16 countries, speaking 13 languages and few speak any English, the senator’s office said.

Officials at the Sheridan prison did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Merkley and other members of Congress visited the Sheridan prison over the weekend to talk to the inmates and asked US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officials to get them legal services and interpreters.

The ICE office in Portland was closed for security reasons on Wednesday, an ICE statement said, after protesters blocked the parking lot on Tuesday evening.

The “zero tolerance” policy refers to the administration of President Donald Trump, a Republican, announcing in April that all immigrants apprehended while crossing the border illegally should be criminally prosecuted under the country’s criminal entry statute.

A group of lawyers informally calling themselves the Sheridan Pro Bono group have volunteered to meet with the detainees to advise them on their rights and navigating the legal system, Hottman said.

Indians are the fastest-growing illegal immigrant population in the United States, with about a half a million coming in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. While some overstayed their student or business visas, many others have come in from Mexico and central American countries.

US Representative Suzanne Bonamici, a Democrat who represents Yamhill County, where the Sheridan prison is located, said the Indians, mainly Sikhs and Christians, say they are fleeing religious or political persecution.

The detainees have been confined in small cells for up to 22 hours a day with no access to medical treatment, she said.

“A Spanish-speaking man showed us where he had been shot, twice,’ Bonamici said. “When asked if he was able to see a doctor, he said no. Another man lifted his pant leg and showed us what looked like an open wound on his leg. He hadn’t seen a doctor, either.”

 


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Balkhu jeep, leaving kathmandu

Public transportation sector most affected by lockdown: Transport Entrepreneurs

KATHMANDU: The plan to allow resumption of long-distance public transportation from August 17 across the country has again been cancelled. The Cabinet meeting held on Monday decided to resume flight operations from September 1 citing worsening situation due to surge in the number of COVID-19 case Read More...

CIAA Chief Commissioner tests positive for Covid-19

KATHMANDU: Chief Commissioner at Commission for Investigation for Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Navin Kumar Ghimire has contracted coronavirus infection. He had submitted his swab specimen for testing on Sunday, the results for which came out positive, a source confirmed.s Samples had been drawn f Read More...

Highest daily-cases reported since easing of lockdown in Nepal, Covid-19 tally reaches 23,948

KATHMANDU: The Health Ministry on Tuesday informed that 638 new cases of coronavirus-infection have been registered in the last 24 hours. With this, Nepal's Covid-19 tally has reached 23,948 today. Among the new cases, 134 have been reported from within Kathmandu Valley. Meanwhile, 171 people Read More...

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 20.14 million, death toll over 735,000

At least 20,147,625 people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 735,369 people have died, a Reuters tally showed.  Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.  Read More...

Nepal sets world record conducting Everest (Chomolungma) clean-up drive

KATHMANDU: The Guinness World Records has announced that Nepal set a world record by successfully conducting an over a month-long cleaning campaign on the world’s highest mountain. According to Meera Acharya, spokesperson at the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Read More...

Himalayan Glacier provides relief to guides, porters

KATHMANDU: Himalayan Glacier Adventure and Travel Company has provided relief to 30 guides and porters who have been struggling hard to meet their ends due to COVID-19 pandemic. According to Sagar Pandey, company’s founder and chief executive officer, the fund was distributed amidst a function Read More...

COVID-19 Update: 638 new cases, 171 recoveries, four deaths recorded on Tuesday

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. As of today, 462,698 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method have been carried out wh Read More...