US visa is the most sought after visa in India. Those who get it celebrate with billboards. Those who don't find human smugglers to smuggle them into the United States. The preferred routes for illegal entry from India are through the Caribbean and Central America.
Many surveys conducted in India over the years indicate that millions of Indians want to leave India to settle abroad. A quick Google search for "Escape from India" produces nearly 100 million results. Many Indians cite lack of opportunity, poverty and various forms of discrimination as the reasons for wanting to leave India.
The number of unauthorized immigrants born in India grew by about 130,000 from 2009 to 2014, to an estimated 500,000. Many unauthorized immigrants from these nations arrived with legal status and overstayed their visas, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said recently that his agency is “doubling down” on preventing immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world from crossing illegally at the southwest border, according to the Pew Research Report.
From 2009 to 2014, Pew estimates that the number of undocumented Indian immigrants in the U.S. exploded by 43% to a total of around 500,000. During the same period, the number of unauthorized Mexicans fell 8% to 5.85 million, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
|Source: Wall Street Journal|
Looking at the total arrivals including legal and illegal immigrants, India and China are each sending more people to the United States in recent years than any other country.
In 2014 about 136,000 people came to the U.S. from India, about 128,000 from China and about 123,000 from Mexico, census figures show. As recently as 2005, Mexico sent more than 10 times as many people to the U.S. as China, and more than six times as many as India, according to the WSJ story.
Will Donald Trump and his fellow anti-immigration campaigners take note of the changing picture of illegal immigration into the United States? Will they stop bashing Mexicans and Muslims?
Story of New York's Little Pakistan
Illegal Immigration From India to US
How to Escape From India?
India: Home to World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterates
India's Share of World's Poor Jumps to 33%
Caste Apartheid in India
Untouchables: My Family's Triumphant Escape from India's Caste System
Female Genocide Unfolding in India
For illegal immigrants:
For legal immigrants:
#America’s Quiet Crackdown On #illegals from #India https://www.buzzfeed.com/davidnoriega/americas-quiet-crackdown-on-indian-immigrants?utm_term=.hsQ4jew9k … via @drnoriega
Buta Singh hadn’t eaten in days, and his body felt like it was vibrating with hunger as he sat up on his bunk bed and watched the prison guards storm in.
The guards rounded up two dozen or so young men, all of them, like Singh, immigrants from the Indian state of Punjab. There was someone there to see them. Unbeknownst to Singh, the visitor was a representative from the Indian government. As he shuffled after the guards in his baggy navy-blue uniform — the uniform he’d been wearing for 10 months, issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — Singh wondered whether the visitor was some higher-up from ICE, there to make a deal.
Like Singh, the Punjabis were followers of Sikhism, a religion that emerged some 500 years ago in the region now bisected by the border between India and Pakistan. Sikhs are usually recognizable by their beards and long, turbaned hair. But the ones in this group had shorn their heads and faces to better go unnoticed on their journeys: by air from India to the New World, by land through Central America, and finally to the line dividing Mexico from the United States. Most were asylum-seekers and had passed interviews that determined they could stay in the country as their claims moved forward, and many had close family members living legally in the U.S. — yet the government refused to release them.
So, on April 8, 2014, the Punjabis at Texas’s El Paso Processing Center went on a hunger strike. It was about a week later when Singh, feeling shaky on his feet, walked into the meeting room where the visitor was waiting. He was startled to see a short, rotund man in a turban with his beard tied underneath his chin: a fellow Sikh from the Indian consulate in Houston. He was there to offer to send the detainees home.
Should they decide otherwise, the diplomat said, they were wrong to think their hunger strike would sway the American authorities. Singh’s surprise turned to anger. In India, he had been active in a fringe political party that advocates the creation of Khalistan, an autonomous Sikh state. The police in Punjab have a history of persecuting separatists, and Singh sought refuge elsewhere, he says, after they tortured him one too many times.
Now he was in America seeking asylum from the Indian state, and here, facilitated by the U.S. government, was an emissary of that very state. (The Indian Embassy did not respond to requests for comment.)
“None of you are doctors,” the diplomat said. “None of you are engineers. Why would America want you?”
The number of Indian nationals caught trying to cross the southern border into the U.S. exploded suddenly in 2010, growing sixfold to 1,200 from just over 200 the year prior.
Although the number has oscillated since then, it has remained near an all-time high. And that includes only those caught trying to cross undetected, leaving out Buta Singh and others like him — thousands, mostly young men, who walk up to a border crossing, turn themselves in, and plead asylum. The total number of Indian nationals who tried to enter the U.S. without papers, including through airports and other points of entry, also spiked in the last five years, peaking at close to 13,000 in 2013, more than double the number in 2009.
#Illegal #Indian immigrants to suffer if #Trump wins - The Hindu
A total of 2,450 illegal Indian immigrants were apprehended by Mexican authorities
Illegal Indian immigrants in the U.S. could be among the worst affected if Donald Trump implements harsh anti-immigration measures as the next President, says a recent study.
A report from the Latin American Social Sciences Institute, Mexico, has concluded that one-third of all Asian illegal immigrants who were detected while attempting to enter the U.S., between 2007 and 2015, were from India.
A total of 2,450 illegal Indian immigrants were apprehended by Mexican authorities before they reached the Mexico-U.S. border near the state of Texas, the study states. But in many cases, the detained illegal immigrants were let off as Mexican laws are ill-equipped to deal with the influx.
Prof. Rodolfo Cassilas, the author of the report, told The Hindu that Mr. Trump’s anti-immigration plans are radical and need greater international attention as they can potentially trigger a new kind of international crisis.
The trend of smuggling Asian nationals through Mexican border has been well established for the past few decades, said Mr. Cassilas. But Mexican society is now better informed and demands for stricter laws are growing also in Mexico, he added.
The public at large in Mexico learnt about Indians using their country as a transit route to the U.S. in 2010 when a drug cartel on Mexico-U.S. border killed 72 immigrants over an evident payments issue.
“One out of the 72 killed was from India and that is when the international dimension connecting South Asia with Central Asia became clear to the masses, but the government has not so far openly discussed the Asian dimension,” Mr Casillas said.
“That illegal immigrants from India and the rest of South Asia in general reaching the U.S. shows coordination among transnational human traffickers located in Central America, Asia and the U.S. They can also move other things, drugs for example,” Mr. Casillas said. Both Mexico and the U.S. are aware of the utility that human traffickers have for serving other criminal network.
“For that, undocumented immigrants are so important for both Mexico and the U.S.,” Mr. Casillas said, explaining that the argument of greater security might be used to take anti-immigrant measures in the U.S. if Mr. Trump’s plan to become the U.S. President comes true.
"Will Donald Trump and his fellow anti-immigration campaigners take note of the changing picture of illegal immigration into the United States? Will they stop bashing Mexicans and Muslims?"
Trump would not mind. As opposed to Mexicans and Muslims, Indians are not violent. Both these communities are very violent. Indians contribute to the society and are hardworking. Indians and Muslims are equal in numbers in USA. But look at the terrorist incidents involving Muslims(almost every incident these days seems to have some Pakistani connection). Can anybody point out single such Incident involving Indians?
#Illegals from #India pouring into #Arizona border from #Mexico. #Immigration
On a recent Friday night in Phoenix, an unmarked white Department of Homeland Security bus pulls up to a curb near the Greyhound bus station.
The door swings open and 15 young men and women from India step off. In the scorching summer heat, they climb into waiting cars and taxis, cramming as many passengers inside as possible before they are driven off into the night.
A half-hour later, a second DHS bus pulls up to the same spot. Twenty Indians climb into cars and taxis, and like the first group, speed off.
This scene is repeated almost nightly at the Greyhound bus station on Buckeye Road and 24th Street near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
The Indians are part of a mysterious surge in migrants from the South Asian country showing up at the Arizona border without legal visas and then requesting asylum to remain permanently in the U.S. out of fear they may be persecuted if returned to their homeland.
They arrive after paying as much as $35,000 to be smuggled halfway around the globe, flying from India to Central America and then embarking on an arduous and often dangerous 3,000-mile journey through several countries, including Mexico, to reach Arizona.
Hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of Indians over the past year have asked for asylum. Some have been caught crossing illegally by the Border Patrol. More often, they are simply turning themselves in at legal border crossings in Nogales, asking for asylum based on claims of political persecution.
While the Indians say they are fleeing persecution, however, some skeptics say they are more likely fleeing poverty.
“They are going to have a hard time paying off smuggling debts, and that could put them in a forced labor situation,” said Elizabeth Chatham, a Phoenix lawyer who chairs the Arizona chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Some border-security advocates, meanwhile, are concerned that the same criminal 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,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
On a nightly basis, as many as two dozen Indians who have managed to establish so-called “credible fear” of persecution during hearings with U.S. immigration asylum officers are being set free at the bus station. Before their release, they are given notices to appear in immigration court at a future date, when a judge will decide whether to grant asylum. In addition to the many hundreds who have already been released, hundreds more remain in detention centers in Eloy and Florence waiting for credible-fear hearings.
It is unclear, however, whether those asking for asylum are legitimately fleeing persecution and whether they intend to show up for their asylum hearings.
In fiscal year 2012, nearly 10 percent of Indian asylum seekers failed to show up for their final asylum hearings in U.S. immigration courts nationwide, according to the Department of Justice.
Some experts fear they are fleeing poverty in India, the world’s largest democracy with 1.2 billion people, to seek better economic opportunities in the U.S. In that case, they would most likely skip out on their court hearings so they can remain in the U.S. and work here illegally.
“I think it’s mixed,” said Chatham, who has been monitoring the surge in Indians asking for asylum. “Some have legitimate claims of persecution. But it seems like there may be many people who are not making a correct claim.”
More #Illegals from #India crossing border into #Texas http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-07-17-illegal-immigration-indians_n.htm …
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.
#Trump's business partner, fundraiser & #Modi ally in #India wants to jail #Christians for spreading their faith
DONALD TRUMP HAS deep ties to India’s right-wing, anti-Muslim Bharatiya Janata Party.
Trump has praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the nationalist BJP leader who gained international infamy for his role in stoking anti-Muslim riots in 2002 that reportedly killed nearly 2,000 people. The New York Times wrote that Hindu mobs skewered mothers “on swords as their children watched” while young women were raped in broad daylight, “then doused with kerosene and set on fire.”
And Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar, known as a close Modi ally and the BJP’s consigliere in U.S. politics, has emerged as a prominent backer of Trump’s candidacy. Kumar has organized multiple fundraising efforts within the Indian American community for Trump and donated $898,800 to Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee formed to support his presidential campaign.
Trump is also in business with a prominent BJP politician, having signed a licensing deal in 2014 to construct the Trump Tower Mumbai with Mangal Prabhat Lodha, a real estate mogul and BJP state legislator. The 75-story building is now under construction, scheduled to be completed in 2018.
In many ways the partnership could not be more perfect. Like Trump, the BJP rose to power nationally two years ago by playing on sectarian anger against Muslims.
And Trump and Lodha have some things in common. Lodha is known for building golf courses and planning a gold façade at the building he is constructing. Lodha even sports a similar catchphrase, declaring on his political website his plans for “Making Mumbai Great Again.”
But Trump’s partnership with Lodha may present political complications. Lodha, like many BJP politicians, has not only antagonized Muslims, but has also repeatedly played to local anti-Christian hostility and sponsored legislation that Christian leaders say is designed to single them out for discrimination.
Neither Trump’s campaign nor Lodha’s firm responded to a request for comment.
In 2014, announcing the Trump Tower Mumbai deal, Trump praised his partner, calling the Mumbai-based firm “a truly fantastic team of professionals.” Lodha’s son, the managing director of the Lodha Group, told the New York Times that the branded approach to real estate has help him sell condominiums; units in Trump Tower Mumbai have already sold for as much as $2 million.
Lodha came to political power in Mumbai in 1994 as Hindu activists protested over claims that Christian missionaries were entering slums and converting low-caste Hindus. In one incident, BJP activists attacked Christian converts over a dispute in Dharavi, a Mumbai slum. In another local incident, Hindus attacked a Catholic convent after accusing the school of converting a Hindu student to Christianity. Skirmishes between Christians and Muslims led to BJP activists taking to the streets to demand anti-conversion laws.
All Six of #America's science #NobelPrize winners this year are immigrants. #immigration #Trump http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nobel-prize-immigrants_us_57fbdf51e4b068ecb5e0cd4e?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004 … via @TheWorldPost
Donald Trump has spent an inordinate amount of time this election claiming the only people that immigrate to the United States are the ones “that have lots of problems.”
If only he were talking about brilliant scientists, toiling away at some of the world’s most intractable issues, he might actually have a point. This year, every American who won a Nobel prize in a scientific field was an immigrant.
Among Donald #Trump’s Biggest #US Fans: #Hindu Nationalists. #Modi #BJP #India
As one of Mr. Trump’s biggest Hindu financial backers, Mr. Kumar, who runs an electronics manufacturing company in Illinois and grew up in the state of Punjab along the Pakistani border, has helped organize a speech by the Republican nominee in Edison, N.J., at a Bollywood-themed charity concert on Saturday. The proceeds will benefit terrorism victims.
“It will be an incredible evening,” Mr. Trump said in a video promoting it, one of the few ethnic events he has agreed to do during this campaign.
Mr. Trump may be largely indifferent to the reasons behind his Hindu loyalists’ fervor, but his most senior advisers are not. The campaign’s chief executive, Stephen K. Bannon, is a student of nationalist movements. Mr. Bannon is close to Nigel Farage, a central figure in Britain’s movement to leave the European Union, and he is an admirer of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist Mr. Bannon has called “the Reagan of India.”
It may be pure coincidence that some of Mr. Trump’s words channel the nationalistic and, some argue, anti-Muslim sentiments that Mr. Modi stoked as he rose to power. But it is certainly not coincidental that many of Mr. Trump’s biggest Hindu supporters are also some of Mr. Modi’s most ardent backers.
At times, the similarity of Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Modi’s political vocabulary is striking. Mr. Modi fed the perception that India’s feckless leaders had failed to allow the country to reach its full potential. And he campaigned as the only one capable of fixing that.
“I will make such a wonderful India that all Americans will stand in line to get a visa for India,” he said once. A centerpiece of his agenda is the “Make in India” program, which is aimed at stimulating economic growth by encouraging more manufacturing in the country.
“It’s all about India first, or ‘Make India Great,’ ” said Sujeeth Draksharam, a civil engineer from Houston who supports Mr. Trump and planned to attend Saturday’s event. “Look at Donald Trump. It’s the same thing. ‘Make America Great Again’ — strong again.”
Another similarly powerful sentiment that both leaders have harnessed is grievance. Mr. Trump has seized on how the working class feels out of place and left behind in a country that is changing demographically and economically.
Even if Mr. Modi’s appeals were never as crass as Mr. Trump’s, his followers say he always understood that many Hindus felt their concerns were ignored by India’s secular and, in their minds, deeply corrupt government, which Mr. Modi vowed to clean up.
“One of the things that Modi very subtly articulated, but was very clear about, was something which nobody wanted to say,” said Subramanian Swamy, a longtime Indian politician and Hindu nationalist who is often a thorn in the side of the country’s political elite. “And that is that Hindus, despite being 80 percent of the population, feel like they got a raw deal.”
"Go back to f**king India": Racist altercation in Abbotsford over parking spot (VIDEO)
"Go back to f**king #India": Racist altercation in Abbotsford over parking spot. #Trump #Racism (VIDEO) https://youtu.be/AOCymgFZsw4 via @YouTube
A disturbing video of a man making racist slurs over an apparent parking dispute in Abbotsford is circling social media. It shows a Caucasian male shouting and behaving aggressively at the individual, a South Asian man, filming the incident.
“You f*cking Paki, go back to f*cking India,” said the man. “F*cking Hindu… White power motherf*cker.”
The aggressive man got back into a pick-up truck, but then he decided to confront the man again, this time for filming him. When the man asked him when he came to Canada, he replied: “I was born in Canada”.
He was also repeatedly caught calling the man a “f*cking sh*t skin” before and after he got back into the passenger side of the truck, even as they were driving out of the area.
Sergeant Judy Bird with the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) told Daily Hive the incident occurred on Friday at approximately 6:30 pm in the downtown area of Abbotsford.
Prior to being filmed, the truck was parked in a reserved parking spot and in the process of receiving a ticket from a bylaw enforcement officer.
“The conversation between him and the bylaw officer became very agitated and aggressive, and a passerby was concerned about the situation and began to video tape the incident,” she said in a phone call. “The passerby who was recording the video was South Asian, which is why the slurs began.”
Bird says all parties involved in the incident, including the man who yelled slurs, have been identified. APD’s next steps on Monday will consist of making contact with the bylaw enforcement officer, getting a statement from the man who filmed the video, and exploring whether the aggressive man could face charges for the incident.
#Trump thinks #Pakistan is in #MiddleEast as he makes case for southern #BorderWall. Border Patrol tells him they detained 450 from 141 countries (#India, #China, #Pakistan, #Romania, #Ecuador etc) yesterday. Only 2 individuals from #Pakistan. #Shutdown http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-pakistan-middle-east-wall-1288379
During a meeting with border patrol officials on Thursday, President Donald Trump appeared to imply that Pakistan is in the Middle East despite the fact that the nuclear-armed country and occasional U.S. ally is in South Asia.
During the meeting, a border official from South Texas told Trump that officials had apprehended two Pakistanis at the border on Wednesday.
“Yesterday we had 450 apprehensions, Mr. President. Out of that, 133 from countries other than the Central American countries and Mexico. India, we apprehended some Pakistanis, some from Romania, on and on and on,” the border official told Trump.
“How many Pakistanis?” Trump asked. “Two yesterday,” the border official replied. “So far this sector has apprehended folks from 41 different countries. Just yesterday we apprehended 133 people from countries other than Central America and Mexico. That includes individuals from India, China, Pakistan, Romania, Ecuador, Nicaragua, on and on and on,” the border guard reiterated, this time addressing the cameras.
The border guard did not appear to be aware that Nicaragua is a country in Central America.
“So they apprehended people from the Middle East and they do it all the time,” Trump said, apparently unaware that none of the countries listed by the border guard are in the Middle East.
The current partial government shutdown, which has been ongoing for over 20 days, could soon be the longest in U.S. history. Trump says he plans to continue with the shutdown until Congress agrees to fund a wall on the border for around $5 billion. Trump had claimed during his campaign that Mexico would pay for his proposed border wall.
In recent days, the president has said that, if he does not get his way with Congress, he is strongly considering the possibility of declaring a national emergency over the issue, which would theoretically allow him to authorize the construction deemed necessary for national defense and security. Some analysts have suggested that Trump could use laws that allow the U.S. military to undertake construction projects using money that has already been appropriated for the military, which would mean redirecting funds that have been earmarked for Army projects.
Meanwhile, around 800,000 federal employees are currently furloughed or working without pay until the government reopens.
Trump has previously singled out Pakistan and accused it of harboring terrorists, but the country appeared to be off of his radar for the past year. The president started 2018 by slamming Pakistan for providing safe harbor to the Taliban and slashed U.S. assistance to the country. Since then, however, he has remained quiet on the issue.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Pakistan in September, where he held high-level meetings with the country’s new prime minister, Imran Khan.
6-year-old from #India died in the #Arizona desert. Gurupreet, the little girl who died in an #American desert. And Gurmeet, the grandfather whose family is still reeling. About 9,000 Indians detained at US-Mexico border. https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/12/asia/us-border-death-indian-girl-family/index.html
India is the top source of international migrants, according to a 2017 report from the Pew Research Center, which noted that 1 in 20 migrants worldwide were born in that country.
It's been a month since Border Patrol agents found 6-year-old Gurupreet Kaur's remains just north of the US-Mexico border.
And it's been weeks since hundreds of people packed a Sikh temple in this tight-knit community to mourn her short life.
Still, for her family, no matter how much time passes, the pain is fresh.
"We are devastated," 70-year-old Gurmeet Singh said, speaking to CNN in the living room of the home where Gurupreet once lived. "To lose a child is not easy for anyone. But this is just too painful."
Gurupreet's father left Hasanpur several months after she was born. He's been living in New York City while his asylum case makes its way through the US immigration court system.
For years, Gurmeet says the little girl would tell her family in India how much she wanted to see her father.
She and her mother had planned to join him in New York after they made their way across the US-Mexico border, according to a statement released last month by the US-based Sikh Coalition.
But officials say the family's plans took a tragic turn last month when smugglers forced them to cross in a remote area on a day when temperatures soared well over 100 degrees.
‘Scared for my life’: #Indian #migrants on risky journey to reach #America. #US immigration lawyers say the rise in undocumented Indian migration is linked to the rise of #Hindu nationalist ruling party – and sectarian #violence it has inspired. #Modi #BJP https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/03/india-migrants-mexico-us-border?CMP=share_btn_tw
In October, Mexican immigration authorities deported 311 Indian citizens – most of them from Punjab – in what they called an “unprecedented” repatriation.
Migration is driven by a host of causes, but many US immigration lawyers say the rise in undocumented Indian migration is linked to the ascent of the BJP – and the sectarian violence the party has inspired.
Since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, vigilante violence by militant Hindu nationalists in India has surged. As many as 90% of religious hate crimes in the last decade took place after Modi was elected, according to Factchecker.in, an Indian group that tracks religious hate crimes.
Victims – often Muslims, low-caste individuals and other minorities – have endured forced conversions, fatal beatings and even lynch mobs. Extremist groups have attacked fellow Indians suspected of stealing or slaughtering cows, which are sacred in Hinduism. These vigilante Hindu groups killed at least 44 people between May 2015 and December 2018, according to a recent Human Rights Watch report.
Police have neglected to investigate and prosecute wrongdoers in many cases, and Hindu nationalist political leaders have even defended such attacks. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom denounced the Indian government’s “allowance and encouragement of mob violence against religious minorities” in an April report.
In December, the Indian parliament passed a contentious citizenship bill, which many believe is openly discriminatory against Muslims, sparking protests across the country.
The bill’s passage is the latest in a series of anti-Muslim attacks led by the Modi government, following the detention of thousands of Muslims in Kashmir and a citizenship crackdown in the north-eastern India that left millions of people, mostly Muslims, potentially stateless.-----------
Kumar, 24, and his wife were eating dinner at their home in the north Indian state of Gujarat when rocks crashed through two front windows. As they took cover, Kumar said he glimpsed a car driving away – with a bumper sticker for the country’s Hindu nationalist ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata party or BJP.
A couple of months later, the couple were riding their motorcycle home one night after canvassing a nearby village for the Indian National Congress party, the BJP’s main rival, ahead of the country’s general election last year.
Four men, who Kumar recognized as BJP supporters, blocked the road ahead of him. He swerved, lost control and crashed to the ground, where the men beat him so badly that he couldn’t walk for 10 days, he said. Kumar went to a police station, but two BJP members were waiting there to prevent him from filing a report, he said.
Soon after, a relative told him he had heard that the attackers were looking for him again – so Kumar and his wife decided to flee the country.
“I was scared for my life,” said Kumar, who asked not to use his full name to protect family members still in India. “I thought I was going to get killed.”
Soon, he and his wife were on a plane to Mexico where they joined the growing number of Indians crossing the border to seek asylum in the United States.
After migrants from Latin America, more Indians are detained at the US southern border than citizens of any other country. 2018 (the last year for which figures are available) saw the highest number of detentions ever recorded: nearly 9,000 Indians were caught by the border patrol, a dramatic increase from a decade before when only 77 were caught.
#India talking to #US over #visa cuts imposed to punish #India for illegal immigration. Homeland Security’s 2018 data shows #Indians constitute one of the largest groups of illegal aliens in #America numbering an estimated 4,70,000 who had entered by 2015. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-india-talking-to-us-over-visa-sanctions/article31325707.ece
The (Indian) government is “engaged” in talks with the U.S. administration to reconsider President Donald Trump’s orders to impose visa sanctions on countries that don’t take back illegal “aliens” in the U.S. within a week. In particular, the order clashed with New Delhi’s decision to restrict all passengers, including Indian citizens from any other country, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
If Washington refuses to relent on its seven-day deadline, or New Delhi refuses to lift the ban on incoming travel within the week, Indians could face a major cut in U.S. visas granted this year.
“We have been engaged with the U.S. government on resuming these deportation-related travels at the earliest opportunity,” government sources told The Hindu, when asked about the logjam over the U.S. President’s memorandum.
“Like all incoming international travel, the deportation of illegal immigrants to India has also been affected by the lockdown and COVID-19-related travel restrictions,” the sources explained, adding that India had been cooperating with the U.S. to repatriate illegal Indian nationals from the U.S. as it is the government’s policy “not to encourage illegal immigration to any country”.
According to the Department of Homeland Security’s 2018 survey, Indians constitute one of the largest groups of illegal aliens in the U.S., numbering an estimated 4,70,000 who had entered by 2015.
However, the Trump administration has pushed for India to tighten its controls on emigration, and accept more deportations in the past few years. In October and November 2019, India brought back 150 citizens who had entered the U.S. illegally, and accepted 311 others deported by Mexico who were trying to enter the U.S. illegally.
Officials said the pandemic had created a unique situation, making it difficult for India to accept any passengers currently abroad, for fear that they might carry the virus into the country. At present, the Ministry of External Affairs estimates that there are about 25,000 Indians stranded in different parts of the world who roughly fall into three categories: business travellers, tourists and students whose colleges and schools have been shut down owing to the pandemic. Despite several pleas from the stranded Indians as well as requests from the countries they are in, the government has refused to reconsider the travel ban.
However, the U.S. President has also used the COVID-19 situation to justify cracking down on countries that “deny or delay” the acceptance of aliens who are citizens, “if such denial or delay is impeding operations of the Department of Homeland Security necessary to respond to the ongoing pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2.” The Presidential Memorandum, issued on April 10, does include a clause permitting the Secretary of State to make exceptions consistent “with the foreign policy interests of the United States”, a clause New Delhi hopes will be used to tide over the situation.
The Patel family, who froze to death while trying to illegally enter the #US from the #Canadian border, hailed from the Dingucha village in #Gujarat, #India , which has a long history of its residents trying to sneak into #America, no matter what the cost
Despite constant humiliation, deportation and even the loss of life, more and more Gujaratis are willing to undertake dangerous practises to reach the United States and get a shot at that elusive ‘American dream’. Now, one family from a nondescript village in the state has even frozen to death.
The family, which included a three-year-old child, died whilst being trafficked across the border into the US from Canada. What’s more, another such family is thought to be missing.
The family hailed from Dingucha village, some 12 kilometre from the Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar, with a registered population of 3,000 people. Most of residents of this village give a wry, proud smile when they say, “More than 1,800 people from our village, the majority, live in America.”
Every house in Dingucha is replete with Costco candy and jalepeño wafers. Locals from the Patel-dominated area take pride in the fact that people from there began migrating to America from the early 70s, “when there were no issues,” as an older resident of the village said.
The death of the family is very sad, the residents of Dingucha said, noting that they will find the agent who promised a “first-class human smuggling exercise” and had charged them Rs 65 lakh to do so. They are trying to get in touch over the phone with the relatives of a family in the village which was part of another group trying to make their way into the US.
Last year, a 24-year-old man from North Gujarat’s Mehsana district decided to leave the country with his family because he was being harassed by local politicians. With help from an agent, he reached the Mexican border. From there, they were joined by a local agent ferrying another group of people crossing the border illegally.
However, his dream of settling in the US was shattered and he and the others in the group were arrested by US border authorities and taken to a detention centre in Louisiana. The agent had reportedly been paid a whopping 30 lakh to get the family into the US.
Similarly, a few years ago, a woman from North India, along with her daughter, was trying to cross from Mexico into the US through the Arizona desert. After spending 22 hours in the scorching heat, both she and her daughter died.
In 2007, then BJP MP Babubhai Katara was even caught trying to illegally send a young woman to Canada on his wife’s diplomatic passport. A subsequent investigation had revealed that an amount of around Rs 30 lakh had been fixed to do so.
The Trump administration had begun building a wall along the US’s border with Mexico and since then, undocumented immigrants have been increasingly trying to enter from Canada. While the Mexican side of the border has a tropical climate similar to India’s, the Canadian border in the North has a harsh, freezing climate.
These instances raise another question: what could compel people to become so desperate to leave the country as to endanger their lives? Could government intervention to set up new schemes to promote start-ups or innovation help keep Indians within India?
This responsibility – to think of way to prevent such disasters by creating avenues for gainful employment and assure Indians of a bright future within their country – lies with the government.
Big jump in numbers of Indians crossing into US from Canada and Mexico illegally.
The total number of undocumented Indian migrants apprehended at Southwest Land (US-Mexico) border by US Border Patrol (USBP) and Office of Field Operations (OFO) in 2022 FYTD (Oct 2021 to Apr 2022) were 8119 Indian, in 2021 (Oct 2020 till Sep 2021) were 2588, 2020 (Oct 2019 till Sep 2020) were 1120.
In 2022, undocumented Indian migrants surprisingly increased, numbers of undocumented Indian migrants in three months are equal to the number of undocumented Indian migrants in 2021 (October 2020 to September 2021) which is 2588.
On the US Northern Land (US-Canada) Border, the total number of undocumented Indian migrants apprehend at Northern Land Border by US Border Patrol (USBP) and Office of Field Operations (OFO) in 2022 FYTD (Oct 2021 to Apr 2022) were 5700 Indians, where in 2021 (Oct 2020 till Sep 2021) were 2225, 2020 (Oct 2019 till Sep 2020) were 3128.
Since the beginning of the 2022 fiscal year that started last October, a record 16,290 Indian citizens have been taken into US custody at the Mexican border. The previous high of 8,997 was recorded in 2018.
Experts point to a number of reasons for the increase, including a climate of discrimination in India, an end to pandemic-era restrictions, a perception that the current US administration is welcoming to asylum seekers and the ramping-up of previously established smuggling networks.
While some migrants are coming to the US for economic reasons, many are fleeing persecution back home, said Deepak Ahluwalia, an immigration lawyer who has represented Indian nationals in Texas and California.
The latter group range from Muslims, Christians and "low-caste" Hindus to members of India's LGBT community who fear violence at the hands of extreme Hindu nationalists, or supporters of secessionist movements and farmers from the Punjab region, which has been shaken by protests since 2020.
Conditions for many of these groups have deteriorated in recent years, international observers say.
Immigrants such as Mr Singh often see the US as "the ultimate gateway" to a better life, said Mr Ahluwalia, the lawyer.
The enormous distances involved, however, make the trip to the US extremely challenging.
Traditionally, Indian migrants who arrive at the US-Mexican border use "door-to-door" smuggling services, with journeys arranged from India to South America. They are often guided the entire way and travel in small groups with their fellow countrymen who speak the same language, rather than individually or with only family members.
These networks often begin with India-based "travel agents" which outsource parts of the journey to partner criminal groups in Latin America.
Jessica Bolter, an analyst at the Washington DC-based Migration Policy Institute, said that the number of Indian migrants is also rising as a result of a "ripple effect" that takes place when those who have used these services successfully recommend them to friends or family back in India.
"It naturally expands and draws more migrants," she said. "Of course, that doesn't happen without migrants wanting to leave originally."
The experiences of Manpreet - a 20-year-old from Punjab who asked that only his first name be used - are typical of those who have taken the southern route in the past. A vocal critic of India's ruling BJP (Bharatiya Jannata Party), he fled the country after being persecuted for his political beliefs.
"From Ecuador I took a bus to Colombia, and from Colombia I took a bus to Panama," Manpreet recalled in an interview with the BBC from California. "From there, via a boat, I [went to] Nicaragua and Guatemala, and then Mexico and entered the US."
Even guided by seasoned smugglers, the trip to the border is often one that is fraught with dangers, including robberies and extortion at the hands of local gangs or corrupt authorities or extreme weather, injuries and illness.
These dangers were highlighted in 2019, when a 6-year-old Indian girl from Punjab was found dead in the scorching desert near the border town of Lukeville, Arizona - a case that made headlines in India. It was later reported that she died in temperatures of over 42 C (108 F) after her mother left her with a group of other Indians to go search for water.
#India's #visa temples attract #Hindu devotees aspiring to go abroad. These temples can be found in almost any Indian city with a #US consulate – 104.5 WOKV
CHENNAI, India — (AP) — Arjun Viswanathan stood on the street, his hands folded, eyes fixed on the idol of the Hindu deity Ganesh.
On a humid morning, the information technology professional was waiting outside the temple, the size of a small closet – barely enough room for the lone priest to stand and perform puja or rituals for the beloved elephant-headed deity, believed to be the remover of obstacles.
Viswanathan was among about a dozen visitors, most of them there for the same purpose: To offer prayers so their U.S. visa interviews would go smoothly and successfully. Viswanathan came the day before his interview for an employment visa.
“I came here to pray for my brother’s U.K. visa 10 years ago and for my wife’s U.S. visa two years ago,” he said. “They were both successful. So I have faith."
The Sri Lakshmi Visa Ganapathy Temple is a few miles north of the airport in Chennai (formerly Madras), a bustling metropolis on the Coromandel Coast in southeast India -- known for its iconic cuisine, ancient temples and churches, silk saris, classical music, dance and sculptures.
This “visa temple” has surged in popularity among U.S. visa seekers over the past decade; they can be found in almost any Indian city with a U.S. consulate. They typically gain a following through word of mouth or social media.
A mile away from the Ganesh temple is the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Navaneetha Krishnan Temple, where an idol of Hanuman – a deity who has a human body and the face of a monkey — is believed to possess the power to secure visas. Also known as “Anjaneya,” this god stands for strength, wisdom and devotion. In this temple, he has earned the monikers “America Anjaneya” and “Visa Anjaneya.”
The temple’s longtime secretary, G.C. Srinivasan, said it wasn’t until 2016 that this temple became a “visa temple.”
“It was around that time that a few people who prayed for a visa spread the word around that they were successful, and it's continued,” he said.
A month ago, Srinivasan said he met someone who got news of his visa approval even as as he was circumambulating the Anjaneya idol — a common Hindu practice of walking around a sacred object or site.
On a recent Saturday night, devotees decorated the idol with garlands made of betel leaves. S. Pradeep, who placed a garland on the deity, said he was not there to pray for a visa, but believes in the god's unique power.
“He is my favorite god,” he said. “If you genuinely pray – not just for visa – it will come true.”
At the Ganesh temple, some devotees had success stories to share. Jyothi Bontha said her visa interview at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai went without a hitch, and that she had returned to offer thanks.
“They barely asked me a couple of questions,” she said. “I was pleasantly surprised.”
Bontha’s friend, Phani Veeranki, stood nearby, nervously clutching an envelope containing her visa application and supporting documents. Bontha and Veeranki, both computer science students from the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh and childhood friends, are headed to Ohio.
Both learned about the visa temple on the social media platform Telegram.
Veeranki said she was anxious because she had a lot riding on her upcoming visa interview.
“I’m the first person in my family to go the United States,” she said. “My mother is afraid to send me. But I’m excited for the opportunities I’ll have in America.”
Veeranki then handed over the envelope to the temple’s priest for him to place at the foot of the idol for a blessing.
“We’ve been hearing about applications being rejected,” she said, her hands still folded in prayer. “I’m really hoping mine gets approved.”
If she and Bontha make it to Ohio, they want to take a trip to Niagara Falls.
“I’ve always wanted to see it,” Bontha said.
More than 150 #Indian students face expulsion from #Canada over #fake papers. In a similar case four years ago, 129 Indian students in the #US were arrested for enrolling in a fake university. #fraud #India #education #visa https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-64988228
"My mind is dark. I cannot move forward, nor go back," says Dimple K, an Indian woman who's been living in Canada on a student visa since December 2017.
She is now among more than 150 Indian students who have been told to leave the country by the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA).
The CBSA alleges these students arrived in the country on the basis of forged college admission letters.
The students claim innocence and insist that they were duped by their immigration consultation agency in India that provided them the document.
Many who received the eviction letters are now embarrassed to come forward, fearing stigma.
Living in a western country is seen as a matter of prestige by many Indian families, especially in Punjab, the state to which Dimple belongs.
In a similar case four years ago, 129 Indian students in the US were arrested for enrolling in a fake university.
Emails sent by the BBC to the Indian high commission in Canada and the Canadian high commission in India did not get a response.
Dimple is married and comes from a middle-class family in Jalandhar district. Daughter of a tailor father and a homemaker mother, she has three siblings.
A post-graduate in science, she tried to get a job in India for a long time, but was unsuccessful.
The hope of a better life with her husband prompted her to apply for a student visa in Canada.
From her cousin, she heard of an immigration agency - which police say has been shut for the past seven months - and used its services to get a Canadian visa.
"The agency told me that one of the colleges had accepted my documents, and gave me the admission letter which they said was from the college," she tells the BBC over phone.
Dimple paid the agency 1.2m rupees ($14,525; £11,970). The amount was to cover her college fee. The agency also gave her a certificate to prove that she had funds to take care of living expenses in Canada.
But Dimple says within two days of her arrival in the country, she was informed by the agency that there had been a strike in her college. They advised to apply to another college.
In December 2019, Dimple completed her diploma in computer networking and received her work permit. But in May 2022, a year after she had applied for permanent residency, she was informed by Canadian authorities that her application had a forged document.
In January, she was served an exclusion order - which usually means an order to leave the country. She has been told to leave Canada and not return for at least five years.
She has challenged the order in a federal court in Canada.
Her attorney Jaswant Singh Mangat is representing over three dozen students who are in a similar situation.
In most of these cases, he says, fake admission letters were provided at an exorbitant fees. These were used to obtain visas.
After finishing their courses, many of these students obtained their work permits and then applied for permanent residency. That's when the immigration department discovered that there were issues with their admission documents.
"Couldn't immigration officials detect the documents were fake at the airport, or while issuing student visas, [so] how was I expected to find that out?," asks Dimple.
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