New Delhi: Over 300 Indians, including a woman, who were deported by Mexican immigration authorities for illegally entering the country to sneak into the United States landed here early on Friday morning.
According to a press release issued by Mexico's National Migration Institute (INM) on Wednesday, the Indian nationals, who did not have a condition of regular stay in the country, were deported from the Toluca City International Airport on a Boeing 747 aircraft to New Delhi. The INM called it an unprecedented transatlantic deportation.
The 310 men and one woman that INM said were in Mexico illegally were sent on a chartered flight, accompanied by federal immigration agents and Mexico's National Guard.
All of them were caught over a period of several months in the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Baja California, Veracruz, Chiapas, Sonora, Mexico City, Durango and Tabasco.
The Mexican authorities allege that these Indians had illegally reached Mexico over the last few months to enter the United States.
The move comes after US President Donald Trump in June threatened tariffs on all Mexican imports if the country did not put a check on people entering America through Mexico's borders.
Mexico had agreed to boost security on the border and expand its policy of taking back migrants.
"We landed around 5 am in the morning and the formalities took several hours before we could exit the airport around 1pm," Jashanpreet Singh, one of the deportees, said.
"It is unprecedented in INM's history - in either form or the number of people - for a transatlantic air transport like the one carried out on this day," INM said in a statement.
Most of the deportees were from India's northern Punjab state, an Indian official said. Police will run checks if any of them had criminal history, another official said.
INM said the deportees had been scattered in eight states around Mexico, including in southern Mexico from where many Indian migrants enter the country, hoping to transit to the US border.
The backlog of migrants in southern Mexico has grown as officials have stopped issuing permits for them to cross the country, said Caitlyn Yates, a research coordinator at IBI Consultants who has studied increasing numbers of US-bound Asian and African migrants arriving in Mexico.
"This type of deportation in Mexico is the first of its kind but likely to continue," Yates said.
(With inputs from Reuters and PTI)