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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Illegal Immigrants from India Stream Into US From Mexico

    Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 08:37 PM
    By Cynthia Fagen

    Hundreds of undocumented immigrants from India are taking an unusual route to the United States, illegally crossing from Mexico into Arizona to seek political asylum

    Those numbers are likely to rise in 2014, the head of a D.C.-based Asian immigrant rights group told Newsmax on Tuesday.

    Deepa Iyer, executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together, said "it's not clear" why immigrants from India are using the same route as Central Americans.

    One reason may be that many South American countries don't require visas, Eleanor Sohnen, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, a D.C.-based think tank, told the Arizona Daily Star. Many can pay up to $35,000 to be smuggled into the country.

    Some Indians simply surrender at Nogales, Az., while others are caught by Border Partrol and detained.

    Iyer said the U.S. immigration system is broken and desperate immigrants don't want to wait five to 10 years to join loved ones in the United States, while others have fled India, a country of 1.2 billion people, claiming political persecution.

    U.S. asylum officers must determine whether their claims are credible. Some are set free but must show up at an immigration hearing at a later date, while others remain in detention, the Arizona Republic reports.

    Some immigrant advocates are concerned that Indians are being robbed and physically harmed by smugglers during their multi-country journey to the United States, or are preyed on by unscrupulous employers once they get here.

    Some border-security advocates think human smuggling gangs being used by Indians to get to the U.S. could also become pipelines for terrorists.

    "They will smuggle anyone who pays them," Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank, told the Republic.

    About 3.4 million South Asians from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives live in the United States, according to South Asian Americans Leading Together.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    More Illegal Immigrants From India Crossing Border

    Published July 17, 2011Associated Press

    • June 8: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent Sanchez patrols along the Rio Grande in Penitas, Texas. Between October 2009 and March 2011, U.S. Border Patrol detained at least 2,600 illegal immigrants from India, a dramatic spike considering apprehensions of Indian border-jumpers had historically hovered between 150 and 300 per year. (AP)

    LOS FRESNOS, Texas – Police wearing berets and bulletproof vests broke down the door of a Guatemala City apartment in February hunting for illegal drugs. Instead, they found a different kind of illicit shipment: 27 immigrants from India packed into two locked rooms.

    The Indians, whose hiding space was furnished only with soiled mattresses, claimed to be on vacation. But authorities quickly concluded they were waiting to be smuggled into the United States via an 11,000-mile (17,700-kilometer) pipeline of human cargo -- the same network that has transported thousands of illegal immigrants from India, through Central America and Mexico and over the sandy banks of the Rio Grande during the past two years.

    Indians have arrived in droves even as the overall number of illegal immigrants entering the U.S. has dropped dramatically, in large part because of the sluggish American economy. And with fewer Mexicans and Central Americans crossing the border, smugglers are eager for more "high-value cargo" like Indians, some of whom are willing to pay more than $20,000 for the journey.

    "Being the businessmen they are, they need to start looking for ways to supplement that work," said Rosendo Hinojosa, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley Sector, at the southernmost tip of Texas, which is the most active nationwide for apprehending Indian nationals.

    Between October 2009 and March 2011, the Border Patrol detained at least 2,600 illegal immigrants from India, a dramatic rise over the typical 150 to 300 arrests per year.

    The influx has been so pronounced that in May, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate committee that at some point this year, Indians will account for about 1 in 3 non-Mexican illegal immigrants caught in Texas.

    Most of the border-jumpers are seeking jobs, even though India's economy is growing at about 9 percent per year. Once safely inside the U.S., they fan out across the country, often relying on relatives who are already here to arrange jobs and housing.

    Indians have flooded into Texas in part because U.S. authorities have cracked down on the traditional ways they used to come here, such as entering through airports with student or work visas. The tougher enforcement has made it harder for immigrants to use visas listing non-existent universities or phantom companies.

    Also contributing to the spike was a quiet change in travel requirements in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras. Beginning in 2009, those nations sought to attract investors by allowing visitors from India to enter without visas.

    Mexican authorities have been unable to stop smugglers from moving illegal Indian immigrants over their country's southern border, then north to Texas. Instead, Mexico asked neighboring Guatemala to restore the visa requirement for Indians, which it did June 6.

    Still, the lack of a visa requirement allowed at least 8,300 Indians to enter Guatemala and fewer than 28 percent of them exited legally, according to Enrique Degenhart, director of Guatemalan immigration. The others disappeared to continue heading north.

    Indeed, the group of Indians police discovered in Guatemala City eventually went free because, at the time, they were in Guatemala legally.

    Meanwhile, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras still don't require visas for Indians, meaning smugglers can shift routes and use those countries as alternate jumping-off points for the journey north.

    El Salvador's director of immigration, Ruben Alvarado, said officials have begun quizzing arriving Indians about what Salvadoran tourist sites they intend to visit in an attempt to spot those entering the country simply to head north.

    Indians caught by U.S. authorities often claim they fled their homeland because of religious persecution. Then they wait for months in federal detention centers like Port Isabel, in the town of Los Fresnos, about an hour's drive from the Texas-Mexico border.

    On a recent morning at Port Isabel, young Indian men wearing navy blue detention uniforms filled the benches in Immigration Judge Keith Hunsucker's courtroom. Sixteen of the 32 cases on the docket were Indian immigrants, including Salimbhai Mansiya, from the state of Gujarat, who had been detained more than a month earlier.

    Through an interpreter, Mansiya told the judge that he needed more time to find an English speaker who could help him fill out an application for asylum. The judge ordered his case delayed.

    The Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review received 951 requests for asylum from Indian nationals between October and March -- a six-month tally nearly equal to 1,002 asylum requests received from Indians in all of fiscal 2010.

    Some seeking asylum can arrange to have their bond paid and are set free. Then they melt into American society and skip subsequent court dates. Immigration courts eventually order them deported, but only in absentia.

    Many of those detained in Texas hail from Indian states such as Punjab and Gujarat, places that are relatively prosperous and where it's common for people to seek greater fortunes abroad even if they are financially secure at home.

    Pramod Kumar, a political scientist at the Institute for Development and Communication in the Punjab capital of Chandigarh, said immigrating to other countries is an important regional tradition that's even reflected in folk songs.

    If people face dire economic straits, "you try and sell your land and go abroad," Kumar said. "If you're prosperous, still you go abroad because, culturally, it gives you a higher status."

    Many immigrants take jobs driving trucks or taxis or working on farms. Initially, the pay is not substantially greater than they would make back home, but simply living in the West elevates their social standing in India. And over time, their earnings increase, Kumar said.

    Smugglers often move their cargo from India to Mexico via intermediate stops such as Hong Kong and Macao and other parts of China, as well as Singapore, Amsterdam, Ecuador, Brazil, Belize and Panama.

    The pipeline shuffles Indians north using the same "plazas," or corridors, preferred by cartels moving drugs into the U.S., Hinojosa said.

    "It's very organized," he said. "They're pushing narcotics through those plazas. They're pushing aliens through those plazas. And it's almost like the mob where they're paying for the right to use that land at a certain time at a certain point."

    By the time they reach American soil, Indians are mingled with groups of Mexicans and Central Americans. They are often captured after swimming the Rio Grande or traversing it in rafts. Almost none carry identification or speak English or Spanish, Hinojosa said.

    Many of the Indians apprehended are Sikhs, followers of India's fourth-largest religion, who tell authorities they face persecution back home and want asylum. Applicants need to convince officials that they have a credible fear of persecution in India. If so, the case is referred to an immigration judge.

    Such persecution was common in the mid-1980s, when the state battled a Sikh secessionist movement, Kumar said. But today the ruling party in Punjab is Akali Dal, a Sikh party, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also Sikh.

    "It's all nonsense," Kumar said of asylum claims.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    Feb 2005

    240,000 illegal Indian immigrants could get US citizenship

    240,000 illegal Indian immigrants could get US citizenship

    US Passport Service – US Passport Service. Get Your Passport In 24 Hours Guaranteed!
    Washington: Over 240,000 illegal Indian immigrants in the US could be soon on their path to obtaining citizenship under a "big deal" reached by a bi-partisan group of influential Senators but uncertainty remains for the tens of thousands of highly skilled Indians seeking a Green Card.

    Described by the White House as a "big deal", the compromise announced by the group of top eight Senators proposes a path to citizenship for 11.5 million illegal immigrants of which more than three-fourths (77 per cent or 8.9 million) are from North America, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

    "We have come together on a set of bipartisan principles for comprehensive immigration reforms that we hope can pass the Senate in an overwhelming and bipartisan fashion," Senator Charles Schumer said after he and a bi-partisan group of seven influential Senators came up with set of principles for comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

    Mexico alone accounts the maximum 6.8 million illegal immigrants.

    The Department of Homeland Security in its report released in March 2012, estimated that there were 240,000 illegal immigrants from India in 2011, which are now going to benefit from this immigration reform.

    Among the Asian countries, India is ranked third when it comes to illegal immigrants after China (280,000) and Philippines (270,000).

    India has registered quite an increase in illegal immigrants, which was about 120,000 in 2000, said the report of the Department of Homeland Security.

    It was way back in 1986 that the US had last come out with a path to citizenship for an estimated three million illegal immigrants.

    However, neither the Senators nor President Barack Obama's blueprint posted on the White House mentioned lifting the country specific quota on Green Card, a major drawback in the current immigration system, which has resulted in an agonising long wait for permanent residency for tens of thousands of Indian Americans.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member HAPPY2BME's Avatar
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    Feb 2005

    2,318% – the increase in asylum seekers from India to the US in last 3 years

    2,318% – the increase in asylum seekers from India to the US in last 3 years
    September 10, 2013

    Claiming persecution, paying $35,000 to reach the US.

    By Deepak Chitnis

    WASHINGTON, DC: The US, especially the state of Arizona, has seen an alarming increase in the number of illegal immigrants coming from India, according to a report published Sunday by USA Today.

    The exposé goes into some detail about how, in recent years, Indians have paid incredible sums of money to be smuggled into the United States across the Arizona-Mexico border. Hailing mostly from the states of Gujarat and Punjab, these immigrants pay sums as high as $35,000 to fly from Mumbai to central America — either Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, or another country in the region — where they then begin an arduous trek via train, car, and foot, to get to the US.

    The number of illegal immigrants in the US who originated from India is estimated to be about 240,000, which makes India the 7th-highest ranked country in that regard. While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced 11.5 million as the total number of illegal immigrants in the country, some have disputed that number as being far too low. Zack Taylor, a former border patrol agent and currently the chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, Inc., in an open letter published on Sunday as well, says the real number is somewhere in the range of 18-20 million.

    Between the years 2000 and 2009, the DHS estimates that illegal immigration from India spiked 64%, going from about 140,244 to right around 230,000 in a span of nine years. The definitive cause of this is as yet unknown — some point to the unbearably slow and arduous visa and Green Card procedures as the main incentive for seeking illegal means of entry, other say it’s simply the power of the American dream that convinces people from all over the world to do whatever they can to get here. But the real reason may be very different.

    The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, which is a sub-division of the DHS, is responsible for maintaining border security all across the north and south of the continental US. When they catch immigrants crossing the borders illegally, they are detained and questioned, sometimes for as long as months. Many Indian immigrants, however, claim to be seeking asylum in the US, which complicates the matter of simply deporting them.

    Sheela Murthy, founder and president of the Murthy Law Firm in Owings Mill, MD, laid some (though not all) of the blame at the feet of US border protection, in an interview with The American Bazaar.

    “Why not just come through the easy route, which is to sneak in slowly through Mexico and enter the United States? The south has [countless] miles of border with no wires and no fences. I know a lot of politicians have talked about high-level security cameras and drones and other such things to protect the borders for thousands and thousands of miles, but realistically, [border enforcers] are not going to be able to tell someone who has had no food or water for days that there’s no hope for them at the end of the tunnel.”

    The report estimates that thousands of Indian immigrants in the past year alone may have entered the US by seeking asylum, although there are many who doubt the veracity of their claims. Critics point to the fact that there are currently no major religious or civil upheavals occurring in India, making the likelihood of religious or geographic persecution highly unlikely. They also state that it makes little sense for poor people to risk all their money trying to come to the US and put themselves at the mercy of their smugglers, who could take financial advantage of them at any time, only to potentially be turned back at the border after all that hard work, stranding them in Mexico.

    “Illegal immigration has been around almost as long as legal immigration,” says Murthy. “[The US] is tired of giving amnesty and protection to people who keep breaking its laws.”

    Although India is not the only country to see its citizens migrating to the US using asylum as a means of doing so, the increase in the number of Indians using this practice has seen one of the most dramatic increases — in 2009, the number of Indian asylum-seekers was 80, but as of the end of June 2013 the number has risen to 1,935, representing an increase of over 2,318%.

    Additionally, once granted entry into the country, many of these migrants often skip court hearings that may grant them asylum and the opportunity to pursue permanent legal citizenship, out of fear that going to court is synonymous with packing their bags. In 2012, 10% of Indian asylum seekers skipped their mandatory court hearings.

    So then how does the illegal immigration problem get fixed?

    “A huge portion of the illegal immigration is based in economic migration,” says Murthy. “Obviously it’s unrealistic to expect the US to solve the economic problems of other countries, but right now India’s economy isn’t doing particularly well — something like 50% of the Indian population earns around just $1 a day — and that may be a big reason for this surge in illegal immigration.”

    Aron Finkelstein, managing director at the Murthy Law Firm, blames the immigration laws themselves: “The bottom line is that the US is working with laws that are 20-40 years old. People want to be legal citizens, people want to pay taxes and abide by the law, the government just has to update its laws. The more updated the laws are, the most dramatic a change we’ll see in illegal immigration.”

    [This story was updated on 9/11/13.]
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