Authorities deport would-be migrants
Detainees all caught trying to get to Australia
Immigration authorities in East Nusa Tenggara province yesterday deported 11 Indian and Iranian illegal migrants caught trying to get to Australia. Seven were Indians who were apprehended on March 3 as they set sail from the provincial capital Kupang for northern Australia. All come from the Punjab in northwest India. The rest were Iranians arrested elsewhere in the country but who had been transferred to Kupang two months ago from an overcrowded immigration facility in Tasikmalaya, West Java. The head of the immigration detention center, Nur El Islami, said the deportation was at the request of the detainees. “The center covered the air fares from Kupang to Jakarta while the Indian embassy was to pay for their repatriation to their country,” Islami said. The air fares for the Iranians were covered by the Indonesian government and the Iranian embassy. Kulwant Singh, one of the Indian detainees, said that he and his friends arrived in Indonesia on valid visas and had chosen Kupang as a transit point because they were told the cost of the voyage was cheaper there. “This is the worst experience we have been through. We wanted to work in Australia,” Singh said, promising that they will never do it again for the sake of their families.