Now Reading
Record Number of 42,000 Migrants From India Crossed Southern Border Illegally During Past 12 Months

Record Number of 42,000 Migrants From India Crossed Southern Border Illegally During Past 12 Months

  • An additional 1,600 have crossed from the northern border illegally, reveals data compiled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

A record number of illegal immigrants from India are crossing into the U.S. from its southern border, contributing to the surge of illegal immigrants into the country. Around 42,000 migrants from India have crossed the southern border illegally during the past 12 months, double the number the year before, according to data compiled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. An additional 1,600 have crossed from the northern border illegally, the data reveals. That number is four times the number who crossed in the last three years combined. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, “the total number of Indians crossing into the U.S. illegally has been above 5,000 only four times since 2007.” Nearly all Indians “turn themselves into Border Patrol, rather than being arrested while evading capture, because they want to ask for asylum in the U.S,” the Journal report said. 

“Around 80% of the migrants from India are single adults,” the Journal said, adding that most of them come through Arizona. They take “donkey flights” via 

countries that don’t require visas for Indian nationals or that have an easier process for obtaining travel visas. According to the Transatlantic Council on Migration, the term “donkey flights” is “a popular route to the United Kingdom.” It is “based on a Punjabi idiom meaning to hop from place to place.”  A Pew Research Center report reveals that the deadly Darien Gap, numerous stops in other countries that don’t require visas, travel via Canada and Mexico, and more were among the methods that Indians were using to enter the U.S. 

This current surge is mainly driven by political or religious fears under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “increasingly Hindu nationalist government,” the Journal report said. Other factors motivating illegal immigration is due to economic factors or because legal pathways for immigration have gotten so over-taxed. “Many Indian migrants are also coming to the U.S. for economic reasons,” the Journal noted. However, they “don’t qualify them for asylum,” and get deported. Many take to social media and admit that their reason to seek asylum was “The lack of well-paying job,” the Journal said. “In many cases, they sell everything they own to pay smugglers, who now operate on a much more global and professionalized scale across the world,” the report added. 

Arshdeep Singh underwent a 40-day journey this past summer from his village in Punjab to Fresno, California. The 23-year-old told The Wall Street Journal that he flew from New Delhi to Hungary, “where he was kept in a small room for 10 days and given a few pieces of bread and some water.” He then flew to France, then to Mexico City, where “he was locked in a room for another week.” There was “another flight and a long bus ride,” after which “a man in a pickup truck closed the distance to the U.S. border,” Singh told the Journal. He finally “crossed into California, starving and weak, and was taken to a processing center where he saw several others who had made a similar journey from his home state,” he said. “The path here turned out to be just as dangerous as it had been for me to stay in Punjab.” Singh is waiting for his asylum case court date, which he says got pushed from this year to 2026.

See Also

Meanwhile. administration officials told The Journal that “migration from India and other countries outside the Western Hemisphere has made it more difficult to stem the flow of illegal entries at the U.S. border,” Additionally, the fact that the U.S. doesn’t have “established relationships with those countries on immigration makes it slower and more expensive to deport those migrants.”

Some of the illegal Indian citizens have perished during the journey including Gurupreet Kaur, a 6-year-old girl from Punjab who died in the Arizona desert in 2019. In January 2022, a family of four from Gujarat — a couple and their two adult children — drowned in the St. Lawrence River on the Quebec-New York border when their boat capsized while they were attempting to illegally enter the U.S. from Canada.

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2020 American Kahani LLC. All rights reserved.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
Scroll To Top