U.S. Denies Visa to Indian Orphans
The decision has surprised everyone. Talking to us, Kiran Modi said so far no Indian authorities have taken any initiatives to look into the matter. "I have been trying to get in touch with the Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, but could not get any solid replay or assurance," she said.
The organizers (International Children's Network) too are completely taken back by the by the visa denial. ICN's President and Founder Don Windham expressed his disappointment over the decision and said, "An unexplainable oversight with severe impact to Indian orphan and at-risk children has been handed down from our most responsible and trustworthy U.S. Embassy in Dehli. I cannot agree with the claims of many regarding discrimination for the decision of our US Embassy in India that go against the Department of Homeland Security, the written support of many in the USA and the past actions of trust from previous choirs regarding these orphaned children in India. This decision, if it stands, will certainly have a tremendous impact on the countless desperate children of India and around the world. However, we have always had complete trust in this process and our Embassies around the world. Therefore, we are certain and most hopeful they will consider the facts we have submitted in order to make a reasonable decision similar to Homeland Security, the support of many USA government officials and many other U.S. Citizens."
"This was the first year for India and while I expected some extra due diligence and support material, I certainly am stunned at the ultimate decision and the drastic impact this decision will have on the children who have no voice. India's street children have suffered so much already and to pull away hope for a future is simply devastating. This decision will set the tone of their future lives and the many people that come across their paths because of the unexplainable denial of our US Embassy." Heather Mehra-Pedersen was quoted in the statement.
The unfair and discriminatory decision surprised many despite the permission and approval - from Child Welfare Committees, schools, Indian government as well as Homeland Security in U.S., over 600 pages of documents verifying authenticity of the case and testimony and letters of support from current U.S. Senators who have firsthand experienced past ICN choirs. "While I respect the concern and overall caution for illegal immigrants and child trafficking , we must not be so ultra sensitive that we fail to properly identify the exceptions to India's problem of deceitful applicants who fail to return to their country. These children are dolphins in the net and set a precedent. This means that any Indian child who is an orphan does not stand a chance of going to United States even when Homeland Security approves them. U.S. Dept of Homeland Security evaluated and approved their travel as well as the support of U.S. senators and congressmen," Kiran Modi said.
Along with ICN and Udayan Care, every sympathizer of this noble cause hope that the decision would be revoked. "We are very hopeful that the decision will be reviewed and the children will be on their way - even if a little late. However, it will need the combined effort of each and every one of us - the Indian and American authorities, the media as well as individuals," said Reena.
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