Why in news?

The government is “engaged” in talks with the U.S. administration to reconsider President Donald Trump’s orders to impose visa sanctions on countries that don’t take back illegal “aliens” in the U.S. within a week.

Details

  • The order clashed with New Delhi’s decision to restrict all passengers, including Indian citizens from any other country, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • If Washington refuses to relent on its seven-day deadline, or New Delhi refuses to lift the ban on incoming travel within the week, Indians could face a major cut in U.S. visas granted this year.

U.S. against Indians being granted visas

  • According to the Department of Homeland Security’s 2018 survey, Indians constitute one of the largest groups of illegal aliens in the U.S., numbering an estimated 4,70,000 who had entered by 2015.
  • However, the Trump administration has pushed for India to tighten its controls on emigration, and accept more deportations in the past few years.
  • In October and November 2019, India brought back 150 citizens who had entered the U.S. illegally, and accepted 311 others deported by Mexico who were trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

Current Problem

  • Officials said the pandemic had created a unique situation, making it difficult for India to accept any passengers currently abroad, for fear that they might carry the virus into the country.
  • At present, the Ministry of External Affairs estimates that there are about 25,000 Indians stranded in different parts of the world who roughly fall into three categories: business travellers, tourists and students whose colleges and schools have been shut down owing to the pandemic.
  • Despite several pleas from the stranded Indians as well as requests from the countries they are in, the government has refused to reconsider the travel ban.
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