Taste of Trump: US charters plane to deport 7 Nepalese men, a first for Tribhuvan International Airport

By Ram Khatry, Sydney
8 June 2017

The US Government chartered an entire plane this week to deport seven Nepalese citizens which, a top immigration official in Kathmandu told southasia.com.au, could well be the first instance of a western nation sending a dedicated plane to get rid of non-citizens.

Ganga Ram Gelal, Director General of Nepal’s Department of Immigration, said he did not recall any other occasion when deportees arrived on a chartered plane.

The landing of the special plane clearly shows just how serious the US administration is in discouraging illegal entry into the country, in particular, following President Donald Trump’s tough stance on “illegal aliens”.

The specially-organised plane carrying the seven men between the ages of 22 and 42 arrived in Kathmandu on Wednesday evening. All were arrested, at different points in time, by US border security as they attempted to sneak into the country through the Mexican border.

US Immigration
The American plane charterred to bring the seven Nepalese men to Kathmandu I Photo: Screenshot, Annapurna Post

Mr Gelal thinks the dedicated plane could be the US government’s preemptive measure against any sort of dramas the desperate deportees might stage if sent by regular passenger flights. “They might even engage in self-harm. That’s why they brought them in their own plane, under their watch. They returned after handing the deportees over to us,” Mr Gelal added during a telephone conversation with southasia.com.au.

“It appears they don’t want to incur long-term costs. They do not want to bear long-term costs in the name of foreigners. I think we should all get that,” the Director General said when asked what he made of the length the US immigration authorities went to return the seven men to the Himalayan nation. The arrival of the plane at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport shows the US immigration department would rather “sacrifice” funds in the short-term in order to avoid greater expenses in the future, he said speaking in Nepalese.

The American Embassy in Kathmandu had informed Mr Gelal’s department prior to the plane’s arrival, it is understood.

The seven men are said to have paid anywhere between three to four million Nepalese rupees to their agents who smuggled them to Mexico through countries with on-arrival visa provisions.

Krandan Chapagain

With input from Krandan Chapagain in Kathmandu

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