Gujarat: Band 8 in IELTS, but they still needed a translator in US court | Ahmedabad News

AHMEDABAD: “Baar pass” and “colej”: these words puzzled an American judge, who heard the case of the six young people from Gujarat who nearly drowned while crossing the United States illegally.
That was the answer given by two of the youngsters when he asked them about their upbringing. While a handy translator interpreted the word as ’12th pass’ and ‘college’ for the judge, very few missed the irony that the youngsters, who had all six achieved the second highest group 8 at the IELTS – an English proficiency test, needed a Hindi translator to decipher the court proceedings that were taking place in American English.
This incident also drew attention to 221 other people who had taken the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam with these six youngsters at a center in premises run by a religious trust in Mehsana.
“We are trying to track down the others who also scored 8 bands in IELTS which allowed them to travel to Canada on student visas. From Canada, these students were supposed to cross into the United States,” investigators said, focusing on smuggling rings in the state.
A police officer, familiar with the development, said: “These 221 people and the six young people, who were saved from drowning in the Saint Regis while trying to cross the Canada-US border on April 28, are left for Canada during the last weeks of April. While all six were caught due to the crash, the remaining 221 have yet to be found.
The officer added: ‘Investigation revealed touts from North Gujarat have set up IELTS centers at various locations including some religious institutions run by trusts here.’
The results of the IELTS, which tests an aspirant’s listening, reading, writing and speaking skills, are reported on a 9-level scale – 1 being the lowest and 9 being the lowest. higher. Anyone who scores an 8 is considered to have “full command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate use, according to the IELTS website.
“The touts have run the IELTS exams at centers where everyone who shows up gets good scores. The six youngsters – Amit Patel, 22, Dhruv Patel, 22, Neel Patel, 19, Urvesh Patel, 20, Saavan Patel, 19 and Darshan Patel, 21 – had also taken their IELTS exam at one of these centers and got really high marks even though they can barely speak English,” the officer said.
They were reportedly sent to the United States by an agent named Bharat alias Bobby Patel. On May 5, US officials said US citizen Brian Lazore helped them enter the United States illegally through St Regis. However, their boat malfunctioned and they fell into the river. US Customs and Border Protection officials spotted them and rescued them.
A New York District Court cleared the six of the criminal charges they faced for illegal immigration. District Court Judge Gary L Favro ordered them not to use unlawful means to travel to the United States. “The smugglers don’t care about you; they only care about your money. Tell people in your home country about the difficulties you have encountered and urge them not to use illegal means to travel to the United States,” he told the six.
Investigative agencies from Gujarat as well as the United States and Canada began investigating human trafficking after four members of a Dingucha family froze to death while trying to cross the Canadian border to illegally enter the United States on January 16.