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  World   Americas  10 May 2017  Sikh who sneaked into US in 1998 fears deportation

Sikh who sneaked into US in 1998 fears deportation

PTI
Published : May 10, 2017, 6:32 am IST
Updated : May 10, 2017, 6:32 am IST

The the Orange County Register said immigrants rights groups and politicians had successfully advocated for his release.

Gurmukh Singh
 Gurmukh Singh

New York: A Sikh man, who had sought asylum in the US citing religious persecution in India nearly two decades ago, has been detained by immigration authorities in California after losing his latest appeal over a deportation order.

Gurmukh Singh, a 46-year-old taxi driver from Punjab who sneaked into the US without a visa through the border with Mexico in 1998, was taken into custody on Monday after failing to get a stay in his deportation case, amid a clampdown by the Trump administration against undocumented immigrants.

A father of two who is married to a US citizen, Mr Singh had applied for asylum in the US in 1999, citing religious persecution.

Mr Singh, a Garden Grove resident who has no criminal record, checked in with US immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) in Santa Ana on Monday as required for individuals with final deportation orders who have been released under supervision. But the ICE says courts at all levels have upheld his removal order.

After Mr Singh had applied for asylum, his case was moved to an immigration court. But his previous counsel did not notify him in advance of his court date in 1999 and did not prepare him, so Mr Singh appeared at the hearing without supporting evidence or testimony. A judge had then ordered his deportation.

Mr Singh’s wife, Balwinder Kaur, became a US citizen in 2010 and applied for him to become a legal permanent resident in 2012.

It was only then that he found out he had a deportation order on his record. US immigration and customs enforcement had detained mr Singh in 2013 for five months based on the prior deportation order.

The the Orange County Register said immigrants rights groups and politicians had successfully advocated for his release, but two weeks ago a judge dismissed Singh’s appeal to reopen his asylum case.

“I would be broke, the family separated and we’re not supposed to be separated,” Singh said of the prospects of detention and deportation.

Tags: deportation, sikh man, gurmukh singh