Huge spike in illegal Indian traffic to US via Mexico

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by pmaitra, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Huge spike in illegal Indian traffic to US via Mexico

    Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN, Feb 7, 2011; Times of India

    WASHINGTON: Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Indians are sneaking into the United States across the Mexico border in what American authorities are saying is a sudden and unexpected spike in illegal immigration — from a country half way across the world which is said to be in the throes of an economic boom.

    More than 1,600 Indians have been caught since the influx began in early 2010, while an undetermined number, perhaps thousands, are believed to have slipped through undetected, according to US border authorities cited in an account by the Center for Investigative Reporting and published by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.

    The report said Indians are now the largest group of immigrants other than Latin Americans being caught at the Southwest border. The influx reportedly is showing signs of accelerating: About 650 Indians were arrested in southern Texas in the last three months of 2010 alone. The "mysterious and rapidly growing human-smuggling pipelineis backing up court dockets, filling detention centers and triggering investigations," the report added.

    The Indians are said to be flying into Latin American and Central American countries such as Equador, Venezuela and Guatemala via Dubai before arriving on the Mexico-US border, where they cross the Rio Grande River and hole up in US border towns, where they are usually helped by fellow Indians. Mexican organized crime groups are also suspected of being involved either in running the operations or in charging groups tolls to pass through their territory.

    According to the report, most of the immigrants, surprisingly, claim to be from the Punjab or Gujarat, two of Indias (relatively) more prosperous states, but also ones associated with enterprise.

    Many of them are "Sikhs who say they face religious persecution, or members of the Bharatiya Janata Party who say they are targeted for beatings by members of the National Congress Party," the report said, while citing experts who maintained that political conditions in India offered no evidence of the kind of persecution that would prompt a mass exodus. The immigration, they said, is clearly driven by economic opportunities.

    The spurt in Indian human traffic into the United States, borne out by the Tri-Valley University scam, would also belie the assumption in some quarters about an unprecedented Indian economic boom accompanied by a purported American decline.

    The CIR/LA Times account said the trend has caught the attention of anti-terrorism officials "because of the pipeline's efficiency in delivering to America's doorstep large numbers of people from a troubled region." Authorities interview the immigrants, most of whom arrive with no documents, to ensure that people from neighboring Pakistan or Middle Eastern countries are not slipping through.

    But there is no evidence that terrorists are using the smuggling pipeline, it cited FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials as saying. Typically, the immigrants are released on their own recognizance or after posting bond.

    US officials say the migration is the "most significant" human-smuggling trend being tracked by authorities. In 2009, the Border Patrol arrested only 99 Indians along the entire Southwest border. "It's a dramatic increase. We do want to monitor these pipelines and shut them down because it is a vulnerability. They could either knowingly or unknowingly smuggle people into the U.S. that pose a national security threat," Kumar Kibble, deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was quoted as saying.

    The CIR/LA Times report said in January, immigration court calendars at the area's two main detention facilities were full of the common Indian surnames Patel and Singh, and attorneys and judges struggled to keep up. Some attorneys had failed to file the necessary forms; interpreters were not always available. One judge more immigration judges would soon be assigned to handle the increased workload.

    The report said it is not clear how many Indians have been granted asylum or deported; immigration officials did not provide that information. But it said judges and attorneys appear to be toughening up, bond amounts have risen sharply in recent months, and attorneys say asylum claims are increasingly being rejected.

    Read more: Huge spike in illegal Indian traffic to US via Mexico - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...-Mexico/articleshow/7440241.cms#ixzz1DFjH7yLC
     
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  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Surge of immigrants from India baffles border officials in Texas

    Surge of immigrants from India baffles border officials in Texas

    Los Angeles Times
    By Richard Marosi and Andrew Becker
    February 6, 2011


    Thousands from India have entered Texas illegally from Mexico in the last year. Most are Sikhs who claim religious persecution at home.

    Reporting from Harlingen, Texas — Thousands of immigrants from India have crossed into the United States illegally at the southern tip of Texas in the last year, part of a mysterious and rapidly growing human-smuggling pipeline that is backing up court dockets, filling detention centers and triggering investigations.

    The immigrants, mostly young men from poor villages, say they are fleeing religious and political persecution. More than 1,600 Indians have been caught since the influx began here early last year, while an undetermined number, perhaps thousands, are believed to have sneaked through undetected, according to U.S. border authorities.

    Hundreds have been released on their own recognizance or after posting bond. They catch buses or go to local Indian-run motels before flying north for the final leg of their months-long journeys.

    "It was long … dangerous, very dangerous," said one young man wearing a turban outside the bus station in the Rio Grande Valley town of Harlingen.

    The Indian migration in some ways mirrors the journeys of previous waves of immigrants from far-flung places, such as China and Brazil, who have illegally crossed the U.S. border here. But the suddenness and still-undetermined cause of the Indian migration baffles many border authorities and judges.

    The trend has caught the attention of anti-terrorism officials because of the pipeline's efficiency in delivering to America's doorstep large numbers of people from a troubled region. Authorities interview the immigrants, most of whom arrive with no documents, to ensure that people from neighboring Pakistan or Middle Eastern countries are not slipping through.

    There is no evidence that terrorists are using the smuggling pipeline, FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials said.

    The influx shows signs of accelerating: About 650 Indians were arrested in southern Texas in the last three months of 2010 alone. Indians are now the largest group of immigrants other than Latin Americans being caught at the Southwest border.

    The migration is the "most significant" human-smuggling trend being tracked by U.S. authorities, said Kumar Kibble, deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. In 2009, the Border Patrol arrested only 99 Indians along the entire Southwest border.

    "It's a dramatic increase," Kibble said. "We do want to monitor these pipelines and shut them down because it is a vulnerability. They could either knowingly or unknowingly smuggle people into the U.S. that pose a national security threat."

    Most of the immigrants say they are from the Punjab or Gujarat states. They are largely Sikhs who say they face religious persecution, or members of the Bharatiya Janata Party who say they are targeted for beatings by members of the National Congress Party.

    But analysts and human rights monitors say political conditions in India don't explain the migration. There is no evidence of the kind of persecution that would prompt a mass exodus, they say, and Sikhs haven't been targets since the 1980s. The prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, is a Sikh.

    "There is no reason to believe these claims have any truth to them," said Sumit Ganguly, a political science professor and director of the India Studies Program at Indiana University.

    Some authorities think the immigrants are simply seeking economic opportunities and are willing to pay $12,000 to $20,000 to groups that smuggle them to staging grounds in northern Mexico. Kibble said smugglers may have shifted to the Southwest after ICE dismantled visa fraud rings that brought Indians to the Northeast.

    Many Indians begin their journey by flying from Mumbai to Dubai, then to South American countries such as Ecuador or Venezuela, according to authorities and immigration attorneys. Guatemala has emerged as the key transit hub into Mexico, they said. The roundabout journeys are necessary because Mexico requires visas for Indians.

    They sneak across the dangerous Guatemala-Mexico border and take buses or private vehicles to the closest U.S.-Mexico border. Mexican organized crime groups are suspected of being involved either in running the operations or in charging groups tolls to pass through their territory.

    The Indians usually wade across the Rio Grande, and then are shuttled from stash houses to transportation rings that take them north. David Aguilar, deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, said he believed a high percentage were caught as soon as they crossed the river.

    "We very intensely interview, look at their backgrounds, check them against any watch list," Aguilar said, adding that although India is not considered a "special interest" source country for terrorists, the undocumented immigrants are scrutinized as if it were.

    The detainees eventually claim asylum. In January, immigration court calendars at the area's two main detention facilities were full of the common Indian surnames Patel and Singh, and attorneys and judges struggled to keep up. Some attorneys had failed to file the necessary forms; interpreters were not always available. Judge Keith Hunsucker said more immigration judges would soon be assigned to handle the increased workload.

    Many detained immigrants clear the first hurdle toward a full asylum hearing by convincing asylum officers they have a "credible fear" of persecution if they return to India. They can then post a bond and move anywhere in the United States as long as they agree to appear for their next court date.

    Not all show up, however. "That's why I won't take their cases anymore," said Cathy Potter, a local immigration attorney who helped about 20 Indians get freed on bond last year. "It undermines my credibility. I don't want anything to do with this."

    It is not clear how many Indians have been granted asylum or deported; immigration officials did not fulfill requests for that information. Judges and attorneys appear to be toughening up, however. Bond amounts have risen sharply in recent months, and attorneys say asylum claims are increasingly being rejected.

    Judge William Peterson raised doubts during a recent hearing when a 27-year-old Punjabi woman said she had been beaten and raped, her sari ripped off by several attackers. The petite woman, her long hair in a ponytail, said she was targeted because her husband was a driver for National Congress Party officials.

    "I haven't heard you tell me anything that you did on behalf of the party that would irritate these people," Peterson said at the hearing held by video conference.

    "We used to give help to the poor. They did not like that," she said. Peterson rejected her claim for a finding of "credible fear," deeming her story inconsistent with statements she had made to an asylum officer. "They're going to kill me. They're going to rape me," she pleaded, wiping away a tear.

    But hundreds of immigrants have persuaded asylum officers and judges to grant credible-fear findings, clearing the way for bond hearings.

    Hunsucker, an immigration judge at the Port Isabel Detention Center near Brownsville, set bond amounts ranging from $15,000 to $40,000 for 10 Indians one recent morning.

    Most said they had relatives or friends in the U.S. willing to sponsor them, though the judge raised concerns about some. In one case, a young man said his sponsor was his cousin, a woman. But the faxed identification document of the cousin showed a picture of a man with a beard. The bond was set at $15,000.

    Once released, the immigrants are transported to the Greyhound bus station in downtown Harlingen. One recent evening, 10 Indians crowded around pay telephones and the bus counter, struggling with limited English skills to arrange travel.

    One young man paid for a $204, two-day bus ride to New York City. When the clerk asked his name, he handed over his detention center ID wristband.

    A young man wearing a turban asked the clerk for information on the next bus to Indiana. He spoke broken English and later tried to provide details about his journey, but other immigrants nudged him to keep quiet. The trip was worth it, he said, adding, "I'm happy, because it's safe" in the U.S.

    Outside, motel operators offered to shuttle the men to their nearby quarters. Shoving matches between motel operators have broken out in recent weeks as they compete to fill their $44-per-night rooms with immigrants.

    The Indians are largely unseen in the towns along the Rio Grande Valley, where they disappear into detention centers, stash houses or motel rooms. Some Sikhs have been confronted by locals alarmed by the sight of people wearing turbans, motel workers say.

    Federal agents investigating human-smuggling rings have visited at least one motel, America's Best Value Inn in Raymondville, workers said. General Manager Kevin Patel denied any wrongdoing.

    He houses about 20 Indians per week, he said, shuttling them to and from the bus station and printing out airline boarding passes. He serves them meals in his motel apartment, often the first Indian food they've had in months, he said.

    One recent guest, Bharat Panchal, 37, said he was released from detention in late January after friends posted his $20,000 bond. India had become dangerous, he said, because of political unrest in his home state of Gujarat. He was flying later that day to Los Angeles to live with a friend, he said.

    Patel said the sudden appearance of Indian immigrants in southern Texas baffled him.

    "When they first showed up, I scratched my head a little bit," Patel said. But he has opened his doors and makes the immigrants feel at home.

    "They need a place to stay," he said. "They need food. They speak my language, so of course, as a human being, I can help them out."

    Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-border-indians-20110206,0,6862978,full.story
     
  4. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    well as you know Punjabis has the most khujli to settle abroad and they don't leave to use any excuse for that. Most of the Sikhs settled abroad specially in USA,Canada,UK and EU during mid 80s and late 90s used this excuse but now the govt abroad recognized that there is no threat for them in India..
     
  5. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

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    one of my friend did not get visa as her surname is patel :D
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    1600 is huge?? There are probably 2 million illegal mexicans coming and going annually.
     
  7. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I wonder how legal Indian immigrants in European Union or USA will react to this.

    I will place my humble opinion here:
    • I fear that if this news is flashed out, Indians might get a bad reputation. Currently, Indians enjoy a very high reputation because of the jobs they do, primarily in banking, research, education and medical fields.
    • Illegal immigration is seen as an exploitation of the US public school and healthcare system, and especially during recession, a threat to the job security of locals.
    • When large number of x moves into y's country without y's consent, y will in all likelihood dislike x. Be it the British coming to India without the consent of the Indians or Indians migrating to US without the consent of the Americans.
    • I would not make this into a race issue at all. US is by far one of the most egalitarian countries in the world.
     
  8. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    /\/\/\ Good points. Plus US is paranoid about terrorism and terrorists sneaking inside US and another 9/11 happening. It is their Country and they have every right to accept people they want to.
     
  9. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    ^^ Good point Oracle. Especially after 9/11, US attitude towards immigrants has seen some change.
     
  10. SixSigma1978

    SixSigma1978 Regular Member

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    Isn't PUNJAB the most prosperous state in India? What the heck are THEY illegally migrating for? Not to mention using the phrase "Religious Persecutions" back in India when demanding asylum in the States. Isn't our PM a Sikh? Even the Americans were confused when these migrants used this as their reason for migrating - most likely would mean a fingerprint, deportation, permanent ban from Entering the States AND loss of 12-20000$ USD to boot for each of these people.

    What were they thinking?
     
  11. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    To answer some of the posts here, about so called 'prosperous' states:

    Statistics is like a bikini. It shows everything but the vital parts. Here's why:

    Farmer Suicides:
    More than 17,500 farmers a year killed themselves between 2002 and 2006, according to experts who have analyzed government statistics. Others traced the increase in farmer suicides to the early 1990s. It was said, a comprehensive all-India study is still awaited, that most suicides occurred in states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Punjab.

    Per Capita Income:
    In 2005-2006, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh were the top 5 states in Per Capita Income.

    So, while taking the mean of income might give us the illusion that a certain state is prosperous, taking the standard deviation will reveal the true state of affairs. So, don't believe people who brandish Per Capita Income without revealing the Income Disparity.
     
  12. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Illegal immigrants from India Increasing at a High Rate

    Illegal immigrants from India Increasing at a High Rate

    When it comes to illegal immigration in the United States, Hispanic illegal immigrants largely outnumber other undocumented immigrants. The estimated number of illegal immigrants in the United States is about 12 million. Mexicans make up nearly 7 million and the next largest group of Hispanics are Salvadorans and Guatemalans. Hispanic illegal immigrants often receive media coverage, especially when immigration raids occur or an immigrant is believe to die while crossing the border into the United States. In addition, Hispanic illegal immigrants usually remain the focus of immigration debates. Many take minimum wage jobs and sometimes even work two jobs. While there is no denying that Hispanics come to the United States in large numbers, individuals from India actually make up the group with the largest percentage increase in illegal immigration since 2000. In fact, it is estimated that in 2000 there was about 120,000 illegal immigrant Indians. That number grew to about 270,000 in 2006 which represents an increase of 125%. Indian illegal immigrants compared to other immigrants tend to be less obvious to spot. Many Indians get into the U.S. with an H-1B Visa so they do not have cross the border illegally. Indian illegal immigrants tend to have attained a higher level of education that other illegal immigrants in the United States. In addition, many immigrants from India can speak English fluently. Immigrants from India often work for high-tech companies and perform highly skilled jobs such as engineering and computer programming.

    Due to the quality of India’s workforce it is no surprise that they are being issued a high number of temporary work visas. During the 2005 fiscal year, Indians were granted nearly 195,000 work visas that allowed them to come to the United States. About 100,000 of these visas were H-1B visas, marking India as the country with the greatest number of temporary work visas granted. Mexico was second on the list with nearly 170,000 work visas. It was followed by the United Kingdom with slightly more than 155,000 work visas. Due to the many opportunities for advancement in the U.S., especially for those with specialized skills, some visa holders purposely overstay their visa. They are aware that if they are caught violating the terms of their visa they may face deportation. However, for many illegal immigrants it is a risk worth taking. Enforcement of immigration law for immigrants who violate the federal guest worker program is not known to be strictly carried out. Immigration officials and staff already face a large number of cases, and they are often understaffed. In fact, backlogs for immigration documents can stretch anywhere from months to years. One board member of the Houston South Asian Chamber of Commerce said that there was no efficient way of tracking down individuals participating in the visa program who are actually returning to their homeland once their term expires. An unidentified U.S. Department of Homeland Security official also expressed a similar concern. The official stated that there was no strong method of keeping track of guest workers in the United States.

    Immigrants who overstay their visa usually have a higher degree of education and greater incomes than those who cross the American border illegally. Due to the current enforcement levels it does not mean that an individual who overstays their visa will not be caught. However, most commonly, individuals who overstay their visa will often face a delay in being caught, if they are caught at all. Therefore, overstaying a visa offers an incentive because it allows an immigrant to remain longer in the United States. Nonetheless, the Department of Homeland Security is working on improving their current tracking system. They have introduced the US-VISIT or United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program. The program includes the ability to collect travel and biographic information. In addition, biometric information like fingerprints and photographs can also be collected. Another change introduced by the American government has been the introduction of more high-tech passports. Still many weaknesses in the tracking system remain. For many who desire to permanently live in the United States, they first gain legal entry into the United States and then overstay the conditions of their visa. Crossing the border to enter the country illegally poses a much greater risk of detection and harm. However, many get frustrated in trying to obtain a visa, as it often takes months and sometimes years. Moreover, may individuals do not qualify for any type of visa and therefore decide to gain admittance to the United States illegally.

    Source: http://www.usimmigrationsupport.org/indian-immigration.html
     
  13. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Not any more. Cloud and king both looted and raped this state:redface::redface:
     
  14. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    It's only with NRI money. Govt dept has no money. I don't know from where these figures come from that Punjab is in top 5 GDP state. May be top 5 ripped state. Time has come for Bihari and UP wala bhaiyas to go back to there state as there state performs better.
     
  15. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The answer lies in ur para itself. Punjab is an agrian state. 80% people directly and indirectly employed in agriculture and agriculture has failed in Punjab due to lot of reasons. Due to that young Punjabis become jobless and got into drugs and other things. When they see there neighbour ,who is NRI built a big bunglow in there own village, They got jealous and try to go abroad with what ever means. Interesting thing is that that same guy who do nothing in Punjab ,ready to clean even toilets abroad...
     
  16. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Aptly put, mate. Its all bullshit, about whoever claiming that Punjab is a rich state, it was previously, but not anymore. I have read numerous articles in papers, about the per capita land available for agriculture in Punjab which was once the highest in India, has dropped significantly due to over exploitation of resources by the farmers, especially blatant use of pesticides which has made a huge amount of once fertile land infertile, and toxic. Punjab has one of the highest levels of toxicity in ground water due to over usage of pesticides which has led to significant rise in health related issues in many districts. Since, agriculture was their main revenue earner, and it failed, also industrialization has not kept pace with other states like those in the West and South India, hence people here see immigration to US/Canada as their best bet to get rich in the land of opportunities and hence are willing to go through anything to get there. Many of them also end up in different countries, from where most get deported back to India, after their human trafficking agents rob them of payment and dump them in an alien land.
     
  17. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    I have a gut feeling that this is to do with Khalistani-brainwashed lot as well. It cannot be just our Sikhs.
     
  18. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I don't think it is only with NRI money. Let us look at the top 5 states with Per Capita GDP ignoring the Union Territories (NRI money does not figure in GDP):
    • [Chandigarh Territory]
    • Goa
    • [Delhi Territory]
    • Tamil Nadu
    • [Pondicherry Territory]
    • Haryana
    • Himachal Pradesh
    • Punjab
     
  19. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    As far as agriculture thing u said is true but besides that other issue of overspending by NRI's in there native village made also other jealous. Iam from Punjab, i have seen these first hand.
     
  20. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Hahah that remind me my trip to Canada. I went to Dixci Gurudwara in Toronto. They had big picture of Bindrawala and others. Thy Potray them as freedom fighters. I asked one of the Sewadar who just got political asylum. He said, if we don't do this we won't get political asylum. Coz lot of Canadaian MP's visit this Gurudwara and if we portray these pics and raise human right issue, it will help us in getting political asylum in Canada lollllllllllllll
     

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