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Report Dated February 22, 2017 6:50 PM
The US government today issued a sweeping set of orders that implement President Donald Trump’s plan to increase immigration enforcement, placing the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation.
“Department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”
The emphasis is on criminal aliens, though, but opens up the door for others too.
According to the memo, the DHS Secretary has the authority to apply expedited removal provisions to aliens who have not been admitted or paroled into the US, who are inadmissible, and who have not been continuously physically present in the US for the twoyear period immediately prior to the determination of their inadmissibility, so that such aliens are immediately removed unless the alien is an unaccompanied minor, intends to apply for asylum or has a fear of persecution or torture in their home country, or claims to have lawful immigration status.
Report Dated February 21, 2017 7:15 PM
For skilled and semi-skilled workers from Telangana in Gulf and South-East Asian countries a separate group, `Blue Collar Migrants’, will be set up to look after their needs. In a major relief to Non-Resident Telanganites, state government has made provisions to set up two bodies Non-Resident Telanganites’ Affairs (CENTA) and District Non-Resident Telanganites’ Affairs (D-CENTA) at state and district-level respectively, in the draft NRI policy, which is expected to be introduced during the budget session in the assembly. CENTA will be headed by minister NRIs welfare and supported by a chief executive officer, while D-CENTAs will be headed by district collectors. The district centres will play an important role in disseminating awareness on emigration matters and also maintain a database from the respective districts.
With the incidents of gullible people being cheated by brokers abroad on the rise, two separate bodies Centre will soon be set up by the Telangana government to take up various welfare measures for migrants from the state.
Report Dated February 18, 2017 1:55 PM
The Commission for NRI Affairs, Goa has written to the Indian Mission in Canada raising serious concerns about the denial of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status to Canadian citizens of Goan origin.
In a communication to High Commission of India in Ottawa/Consulate General of India in Toronto, the NRI Commission has pointed out that the Portuguese language documents, translated in English are not accepted by the consulate and subsequently the OCI card is denied.“The Government of Goa would be highly grateful if the Mission would accept these documents while processing the applications of persons with Goan origin who are forced to rely upon the birth records registered during the erstwhile Portuguese regime, for grant of OCI card status,” OSD to Commissioner for NRI Affairs UD Kamat said in the letter.
Kamat said that the Commission has been receiving representations from Goan Overseas Associations in Canada about the difficulties faced by some of their members in getting OCI card status. “As the Mission would be aware, Section 7A of the Citizenship Act 1955, by which the OCI was introduced, mandates the proof of Indian origin through the birth of the applicant taken place in India and if not that of either the parent or the grandparent,” he stated.Kamat said that as far as Goa, Daman and Diu is concerned, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, via a notification dated March 28, 1962 conferred Indian citizenship on persons born before Liberation with effect from December 20, 1961. “The records of birth taken place before Liberation of these territories are maintained in Portuguese language,” he said.
“The records are then translated into English either through notary or the official translator notified by the government. These documents are then relied upon as proof of India origin while applying for OCI card to the Mission for acceptance,” the OSD stated.Kamat said, that the Commission has received complaints that such documents are often not accepted and consequently persons of Goan origin, settled in Canada and having obtained Canadian citizenship, are denied the facility of getting OCI status and are left with no alternative but to apply for tourist visa on every occasion they intend to visit the State.
Report Dated February 14, 2017 6:52 PM
The scheme, Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY), was launched in the UAE in 2012 in its pilot phase before introducing it in 16 other countries. The objective was to encourage and enable the overseas Indian workers by giving government contribution to save for their return and resettlement (R&R), save for their old age, obtain a life insurance cover against natural death during the period of coverage.
The foreign office is discontinuing three initiatives – a pension-cum-life insurance scheme, short-term academic courses, and a business opportunities platform – a year after it took charge of overseas Indian affairs, according to a report in The Telegraph.
The pension scheme was the only initiative representing the blue-collar workers living abroad but it failed to attract a huge number of subscriptions. Officials attributed the lack to demand to the refusal of both, the current Narendra Modi administration and the former Manmohan Singh government to popularise the scheme.
According to the scheme, if a male subscriber deposits Rs 5,000 annually under the scheme (Rs 1,000 through the National Pension System and Rs 4,000 through the UTI Monthly Income Scheme) he would stand to receive Rs 1,000 from the government as a contribution towards his pension and Rs 900 towards the MIS each year. Women could avail Rs 2,900 as government contribution annually (Rs 2,000 for the pension and Rs 900 for the MIS.)
The scheme also sheltered the subscribers with free cover from the Life Insurance Corporation of Rs 30,000 in the case of natural death, Rs 75,000 in the case of unnatural death or permanent disability due to an accident, and Rs 37,500 for partial disability.
The investment had to be made for five years or the duration of employment abroad, whichever is shorter. Once back in India, the worker would get the total sum in their MIS account, coupled with the interest earned, as a lump sum. The pension remains in their account, accruing interest till the worker turns 60 and they can avail the money monthly.
Report Dated February 14, 2017 5:41 PM
A US-born Nasa scientist of Indian-origin was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) authorities on his return to America from a trip to Chile and pressured into unlocking his phone, amid an anxious debate on how far the Trump administration intends to take the “extreme vetting” that it has promised and whether it would be applied to more recent US-citizens of foreign origin.
Sidd Bikkannavar, who works at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), was held by immigration officials when he returned to Houston four days after President Trump signed his controversial executive order on travels into US.
Agents confiscated his phone and demanded the pin access number without citing reasons, but since the phone was issued by Nasa and contained sensitive material, Bikkannavar initially declined to comply. He was detained till he parted with the information. With his light skin and long brown locks, Bikkannavar does not look very “foreign” (or “Muslim” as some reports erroneously described him; his last name is from the Hubli-Dharwad region in North Karnataka).
Besides, he is also enrolled in Global Entry — a programme through CBP that allows individuals who have undergone background checks to have expedited entry into the country. He had gone to Chile on a personal trip, pursuing his hobby of racing solar-powered cars.
“Just to be clear — I’m a US-born citizen and Nasa engineer, travelling with a valid US passport,” the young researcher wrote in a Facebook post, explaining that, “Once they took both my phone and the access PIN, they returned me to the holding area with the cots and other sleeping detainees until they finished copying my data.”
The episode, aside from the profiling it ostensibly involved, also put him in a fix with his employers, because he was required to protect access to the phone.
“I’m back home, and JPL has been running forensics on the phone to determine what CBP/homeland security might have taken, or whether they installed anything on the device,” he explained in the post, adding that he has also been working with JPL legal counsel and the lab has issued him a new phone and new phone number.
He also said he removed his Facebook page until he was sure the account wasn’t also compromised by the intrusion into his phone and connected apps.
The episode is in line with proposals by the Trump administration that visitors and visa applicants to the US will be required to provide access to their social media accounts, including their passwords. “If they don’t want to give us that information then they don’t come,” homeland security secretary John Kelly told a Congressional hearing last week.
There is growing concern in liberal civil liberties circles over whether such vetting will also be imposed on US citizens and permanent residents of “foreign origin”, with some commentators arguing that Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again” is a thinly-disguised attempt to “Make America White Again.”
The President’s supporters maintain such conclusions, based on a few incidents, are exaggerated, even as they insist national security should trump all other concerns.