Mexico deports 311 illegal immigrants from India, exposes growing trend of Indians entering U.S. illegally
311 Indians were deported by the Mexican Immigration Authorities for illegally entering the country and trying to cross over to the U.S. This exposes a larger trend of rising share of Indians in illegal migration to the U.S.
On Friday, 18th October, a non-scheduled flight from Mexico landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. Stepping out of it were 310 men, sporting beards and carrying backpacks as if they were returning after a trek. There was a woman too.
Hailing mostly from Haryana and Punjab, these Indian-citizens were deported by the Mexican Immigration Authorities for illegally entering the country and trying to cross over to the U.S. The National Migration Institute (INM) of Mexico called it one of the biggest transatlantic deportations.
A specially arranged non-scheduled flight carrying more than 325 repatriated Indians reached Delhi airport earlier today.These Indians had allegedly illegally reached Mexico to enter USA over the last few months with the help of international agents. pic.twitter.com/iAbHFopYdX— ANI (@ANI) October 18, 2019
What ended with this deportation was their months-long desperate journey to the US, a land where they dreamed they would find a better job and life. They braved illnesses, hunger, thirst and torturous jungle treks, coordinated by illegal trafficking cartels.
But they were caught from different Mexican states before they could set foot in US.
“In April, I appeared in the trials for a job as an Army soldier, but could not get through. Subsequently, I thought of going to the US,” 19-year-old Jashanpreet Singh, one of the deportees, told PTI.
“I spent Rs 20 lakh to go there to an agent based in Punjab. On May 9, I left India and reached Ecuador. From there, I reached Colombia and later, Panama… At one point we even ran out of food and water. In Nicaragua, we walked three hours through a forest which was full of thorns. After walking through the forest, police caught us and deported us to Honduras in a bus”
Jashanpreet also said that he saw several corpses, believed to be of people who wanted to migrate just like him, during his journey. He further explained that on September 12 they reached Mexico and were there for almost 34 days before being deported to India.
Others also had similar stories to share. Hailing from agricultural families, most of them had got the idea from “watching YouTube videos” and hearing about people who had successfully managed to reach the US. The 'visa agents' arranged this journey of uncertainty.
This deportation incident was not surprising, considering the growing share of Indians in illegal migration to the U.S.
The latest Pew Research Centre report on illegal migration to the US said that between 2007 and 2017, India was the fastest-growing source of non-South American illegal immigrants to the U.S.
With 525,000 illegal migrants entering the US in 2017 alone, India was the fourth largest source country, after Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Many of these attempts end up in tragedy, as the US also places tighter border controls.
Gurupreet Kaur, a six-year-old girl from India, died of heatstroke in June while crossing the US-Mexico border through the Arizona desert with her parents who were “desperate” to seek asylum in the US. That is exactly what Indian immigrants are willing to put themselves through to secure a better life in U.S. now.
According to Border Patrol statistics, the number of Indian nationals apprehended at the Southwest border has been steadily climbing. In the fiscal year 2018, close to 9000 people from India were caught at the Southwest border. This was almost thrice the number from the previous year, when around 3000 Indian migrants were apprehended.
Despite the 'bonhomie' between the American President and the Indian Prime Minister, the Trump administration has not supported the Indian community.
According to South Asian Americans Leading Together’s (SAALT) April 2019 report, the Department of Homeland Security is in the process of reviewing 700,000 individuals for denaturalization. Several Indians who have acquired American nationality “fraudulently” are also included in this.
In fact, Mexico’s deportation of 311 Indians comes after U.S. President Donald Trump in June threatened tariffs on all Mexican imports if the country did not put a check on people entering America through its borders.