Seven Indian nationals, who entered the US illegally and were arrested near the US/Canada border last week, have been released from Border Patrol’s custody and processed for removal from the country.
“All seven migrants who illegally entered the United States last week were administratively processed for removal and/or placed into removal proceedings as per the Immigration and Nationality Act,” according to a statement.
The statement added that six of the seven Indian nationals were placed under an Order of Supervision and one was released on an Order of Recognisance for humanitarian purposes.
“All the migrants have been released from Border Patrol’s custody” and ordered to report to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a later date, the statement added.
The seven Indian nationals were apprehended last week by US authorities near the US/Canada border. Steve Shand, 47 has been charged with human smuggling.
Shand was arrested on January 19 less than one mile south of the US/Canadian border in a rural area between the official ports of entry located at Lancaster, Minnesota and Pembina, North Dakota.
He was driving a 15-passenger van and was transporting two Indian nationals, who were present in the US illegally.
While Shand and the two passengers were being transported to the Pembina Border Patrol Station in North Dakota, law enforcement encountered five additional Indian nationals approximately a quarter-mile south of the Canadian border walking in the direction of where Shand was arrested. All seven Indians were then arrested by border authorities.
The five Indian nationals told authorities that they had walked across the border from Canada expecting to be picked up by someone.
The group said it had been walking around for over 11 hours. One of the group members was carrying a backpack that did not belong to him.
He told authorities that he was carrying the backpack for a family of four Indian nationals that had earlier walked with his group but had become separated during the night.
The backpack contained children’s clothes, a diaper, toys, and some children’s medication.
Later during the day on January 19, Canadian authorities found the bodies of the four Indian nationals near Emerson, Manitoba, approximately 12 metres from the Canada/US border.
The deceased family members have been identified as Jagdish Baldevbhai Patel, 39, Vaishaliben Jagdishkumar Patel, 37, Vihangi Jagdishkumar Patel, 11 and Dharmik Jagdishkumar Patel, 3.
Identities of the victims were confirmed by Canadian authorities and autopsies were completed on January 26.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Manitoba has confirmed that the cause of death was due to exposure, a statement from Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said Thursday.
The criminal complaint against Shand had added that two of the seven Indian nationals arrested “sustained serious injuries.”
“A male adult and female adult were taken to the hospital for suspected frostbite. The male was later released from the hospital, but the female was life-flighted to a larger hospital and will likely require partial amputation of one hand from exposure to extreme cold weather conditions. The female also stopped breathing several times while being transported by Border Patrol,” the complaint had said.
Authorities have said the weather in the area was severe, with high winds, blowing snow and temperatures well below sub zero. “The area is also known by Border Patrol as a high incident area for human smuggling.”
Shand is charged with one count of knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien had come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law, having transported, and moved or having attempted to transport and move such aliens.
The complaint said that all the seven nationals arrested “spoke Gujarati, a language spoken in Gujarat in western India. Most had limited or no English language speaking ability.”