Indian students who were returned back from entering the US last month were only “denied entry” and not deported, Joseph M. Pomper, Minister-Counselor for Consular Affairs, US Embassy, said on Friday.
Mr. Pomper also said the two US universities — Silicon Valley University, San Jose, and Northwestern Polytechnic University, Fremont — to which most of these students were headed, were not blacklisted as was being made out
“These universities were not blacklisted. They issue I20’s (student visas). As long as a student is bonafide, they should not have any problem,” Mr. Pomper said.
When questioned how the US could not accept their own visas issued to these students, he said a visa was only a permission to get to a port of entry. “Many countries including the US and India have a two-step process. A visa is a permission to come to a port of entry. At the port of entry, the customs officials, border control, immigration officials… they are the ones who decide who would be admitted, why they would be admitted and under what status they would be admitted,” he said.
The issue has snowballed into a controversy with students claiming that they were harassed by US immigration officials. India’s External Affairs Ministry, on Dec.30, issued an announcement to Indians travelling to the US to carry additional supporting documents with them.
Mr Pomper added that these students could reapply for U.S. visas in the future. “Every case is adjudicated individually on its merit,” he said.