I just read about the diplomat from India who was arrested in New York City Tuesday on visa fraud charges. The arrest has caused chaos and resulted in vengeance being taken out on US State Department officials stationed in New Delhi. What a bizarre story. Let me see if I can break down what exactly happened.
This diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, who is the deputy consular general for India allegedly submitted false documents to secure a work visa for a domestic worker for her home. She also paid this domestic less in wages than indicated in the documents. She was subsequently arrested, the complaint alleges, housed in a detention facility with other female prisoners, and even stripped searched. Her arrest was made by the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) and her confinement managed by the US Marshals Service (USMS).
The case has caused lots of controversy. On one side people are claiming she was dealt with in a manner that was undignified. On the other side there are those outraged that she was paying her domestic worker less than a fair wage. It’s a little immature for the government in India to harass US workers in retaliation for what happened in New York. India citizens in India have launched anti US protests in response to the incident, calling her treatment inhumane and barbaric. India leaders also refused to meet a US delegation that had travelled there yesterday, to symbolically show their anger and disapproval with how Ms. Khobragade was treated. It just floors me how grown folk can act like such children.
I don’t know whether she was treated unfairly or whether the DSS and the USMS processed her in a manner counter to what should have happened. But if Ms. Khobragade truly did not pay her domestic worker a fair wage, then that’s where I take issue. The allegation states she paid the worker $3.31 per hour. The minimum wage is $9.75 per hour. Furthermore, the complaint also alleges that Ms. Khobragade forced the worker to exceed a 40-hour work week without giving her overtime pay. If these allegations prove to be true, then that’s pathetic. I suspect the domestic worker probably didn’t even know she was being exploited. Then again, maybe she did know, and that could be how this case got blown open.
It’s still new, so more details are sure to come out. I’ll be watching this one and make to provide an update when I learn more. Unfair labor practices are very important to me and inexcusable, particularly when the practices are willful and intentional as they appear to be in this case.