Don trumps up scare, desis put off home travel

Don trumps up scare, desis put off home travel

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Don trumps up scare, desis put off home travel

HYDERABAD: With Trumpmania sweeping the globe, the great American dream has turned into a nightmare for many like Chitra, a Green Card holder and resident of Seattle, Washington. She came to India in the first week of January on personal work and flew down to the US on January 24. She was denied entry at Seattle and forced to return to India. No reason was cited by American immigration even though her husband and two children are US citizens and are residing there. She is now fighting her case from India with help of immigration lawyers in the US. Preethi, who studies at a varsity in California and recently flew back from India to continue her studies there, has a similar trauma tale. She was unceremoniously put on a flight back to India after being quizzed at the airport that lasted hours. The reason: US immigration officials were not satisfied with answers she gave about her studies and how she would fund her education. With many Indians seeing their American dreams crumble, IT professionals, especially from the two states, are also gearing up for an uncertain future. Rajesh, a Hyderabadi techie, employed with a firm in San Francisco on an H-1B visa, came to India in December for his visa renewal and though the process normally takes about a week to 10 days, the US Consulate has not renewed his visa nor given any reason for the delay. He is now working from the Chennai office of his company , unsure of how long he will have to wait. US President Donald Trump’s diktat banning travellers from seven Muslim majority nations has triggered global chaos, with travellers from countries like India too facing deportation, intense grilling at US airports and visa delays. Many from the Indian diaspora currently in the US too have pressed the panic button.”Suddenly , the atmosphere here has turned hostile. I have been hearing people have been asked to reveal passwords of social media accounts. I am afraid they may soon start asking for Gmail passwords too. I have a lot of personal stuff that I don’t want anybody to see. We are trying to avoid travelling both within and outside the US and have decided to stay put for the moment,” said a Houston-based H-1B visa holder software professional, who has been living in the US for over six years now. Virginia-based student Ashraf said many in the student community are wary of travelling to India for vacations as they fear they might not be allowed entry when they return. While several NRIs are putting on hold their personal and official visits to India as they feel it might be difficult to re-enter, some of those travelling from India on business or leisure too are either cancelling their travel plans or putting them on hold for the time being to see how the situation unfolds. Tour operators, too, admit to a decline in traffic between US and India. “We can see a clear dip in number of Indians coming from the US. There has been a 7-8% cancellation over last 10 days, which is out of character as this is the time of the year when lots of Indians travel.While we don’t know the reason for the decline yet, we are keeping a close watch on the numbers,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman (East) Travel Agents Federation of India. A senior official of a national tour operator said, “We are also advising our clients to not take the risk of travelling to the US right now. We are asking them to wait and watch for the next 20-25 days to see how things pan out and take a call after that.” However, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) president R Sunil Kumar, said the body has not received any feedback from members. The alarming trend has Hyderabad-based IT players too worried though they say they have not yet sent out official advisories to their employees.”The situation is worrisome. We are tracking it closely,” said a senior official of a Hyderabad based IT company . Parents of students studying in the US too are a worried lot as the situation has cast a shadow on their wards’ future prospects and safety. “The situation is tense and there are fears that students may face racism on the campus. While students are not being stopped at the airport, they are certainly being questioned more at the immigration centres while travelling,” said Hyderabad-based K Murthy (name changed), whose son is pursuing his MS in US.