A little-publicized, but rapidly growing group of migrants trying to enter the United States through Mexico comes from India.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Numbers (CBP) show that the number of Indians detained on America’s southern border has increased from just 76 in 2007 to more than 7,600 last year.
In a fascinating report National public radio found that migrants tend to be very different from those from other countries. They are neither poor nor expropriated. Many come from Punjab, one of the wealthiest states in India.
Migrants pay tens of thousands of dollars to dodgy “immigration officials” and get detailed itineraries and false stories to get asylum.
According to the NPR, most are not exposed to any credible threats to their safety or livelihood. They simply leave India to find better job opportunities and / or to reunite with relatives who are already here. Declined for Visa by Runaway legal channelswork the asylum angle.
Asylum seekers must express this in order to enter the United States “Credible fear” torture or persecution if they should return to their home country.
Sevak Singh, an asylum seeker, told NPR that he claimed he was persecuted for his religion even though he had not suffered anything like it. Singh told how he and his fellow travelers were studying false stories about Sikh separatism and persecution. The stories were wrong, but they were rooted in decades of controversy.
With the rise in Indian asylum seekers at the Mexican border, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which assesses credible fears, launched new India-specific anti-fraud training in April 2019.
In the six months prior to this training, 89 percent of Indian nationals surveyed by USCIS officials were found to have “credible fear”. NPR reported that the rate dropped to 17 percent after training.
Officials have concluded that a majority of Indian migrants who claimed persecution before April 2019 did so fraudulently. To counteract these and other scams, the Trump administration has proposed further measures to strengthen the asylum system.
In the meantime, Indian authorities have arrested 900 of these sketchy “immigration officials” in Punjab for fraud.
But if the experience of a deported migrant is an indication of this, false asylum seekers will always come.
After being deported back home in Punjab, Amandeep Singh texted his smuggler and tried to get back part of the $ 22,000 in fees he had paid for his failed asylum offer. The 19-year-old Singh acknowledges the increasing chances of joining, but remains determined to get to America. “I’ll try to go again,” he told NPR.
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