Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thousands of Indian Asylum Seekers in US Jails

Over 4,200 Indians have so far been jailed for illegally crossing US-Mexico border this year, according to available data reported by US media. It's a big jump from 3,100 Indians detained in all of 2017.  Most are seeking asylum based on claims of religious and political persecution in their country of origin.

Source: LA Times
Undocumented Indians in US Detention: 

Portland-based newspaper "The Oregonian" found that the single largest group of detainees at Sheridan Federal Prison in Oregon came from India. It reported that there were 50 Indians among the 124 migrants being housed at the prison. The others hailed from Nepal, Armenia, Brazil, Mexico and parts of Central America.

India Fastest Growing Source of Illegals:

India has become the biggest source of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States.  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.

United States Department of Homeland Security estimates that there were 12.1 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States as of 2014. The top countries of origin are:

Mexico = 6.6 million

El Salvador = 700,000

Guatemala = 640,000

India = 430,000

Honduras = 400,000

Philippines = 360,000

Religious Hostilities in Modi's India:

The rise of Hindutva forces is tearing India apart along caste and religious lines.  Hindu mobs are lynching Muslims and Dalits. A recent  Pew Research report confirms that the level of hostility against religious minorities in India is "very high", giving India a score of 9.5 on a scale from 0 to 10. Pakistan's score on this scale is 7 while Bangladesh's is 7.5.

Chart Courtesy of Bloomberg


Rising hostility against minorities in India has earned it a score of 9.5 on a scale of 0-10 assessed by Pew Research. This is manifested in a big jump in the number of Indians seeking asylum in the United States. Over 4,200 Indians have so far been jailed for illegally crossing US-Mexico border this year, according to available data reported by US media. It's a big jump from 3,100 Indians detained in all of 2017.  Most are seeking asylum based on claims of religious and political persecution in their country of origin.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Story of New York's Little Pakistan

Illegal Immigration From India to US

How to Escape From India?

Deep Divisions Tearing India Apart

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

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


r_sundar said...

Modiphobia stroked by the Congress controlled Indian media, which is far different from reality. There is a well known syndicate that seek asylum with the intention of immigrating.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for highlighting the plight of Indian asylum seekers repressed by Modi regine. Hope intellectuals like you can fight the unjust US regime under trump and granting us entry.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #rupee is in a free-fall. On Sep 3, #INR closed below Rs71 per dollar mark for the first time ever. It came a mere 18 days after it ended below the key Rs70 threshold. Since January, #India's #currency has already depreciated by 10%. via @qzindia

Asia’s worst-performing currency is simply unable to break its fall.

On Sept. 03 the rupee closed below the Rs71 per dollar mark for the first time ever. This came a mere 18 days after it ended below the key Rs70 threshold. Since January, the Indian currency has already depreciated by 10%.

The news that the Indian economy grew at a sprightly 8.2% in the April-June period, the highest in nine quarters, provided some cushion, but only so much. “…with the environment we are in right now, the rupee is more likely to track global cues,” IFA Global, a forex advisory firm, said in a report.

Crude prices: In the past many weeks, international crude oil price, which had stabilised in the April-June quarter, has been on the rise again. In the last fortnight alone, it gained $7 per barrel and the crude oil futures were trading above $75 per barrel on Sept. 03. Considering that India imports nearly 80% of its fuel needs, rising oil prices leads to a higher dollar bill which, in turn, weakens the rupee.

Current account deficit: Rising oil prices and a weakening rupee mean that India’s current account deficit may widen to 2.8% of the GDP this financial year, up from 1.9% last year, according to a report by Nomura Research. This year, the deficit has already jumped to a nearly five-year high of $18 billion. This only adds further pressure on the rupee.

International developments: The situation in Turkey is taking a toll on currencies of the emerging markets. The Turkish lira has already lost over 40% of its value this year. Last month, the US imposed higher tariffs on imports of steel, aluminium, and other commodities from Turkey which has set off turbulence in the latter’s economy.

Besides the US-Turkey confrontation, there is also the bigger US-China trade war brewing. The two countries have also been increasing duties on each other’s goods. Some observers view this as the beginning of a new Cold War.

None of this augurs well for the Indian currency.

Passive RBI: Typically, when the rupee weakens, the central bank sells dollars from its reserves to rescue it. So far, though, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has not intervened aggressively to shore up the domestic currency.

“The intensity of RBI’s intervention has dissipated,” said Abheek Barua, chief economist at HDFC Bank, India’s biggest private lender. “While there is complete lack of communication from the RBI, comments from officials from the government and quasi-government agencies appear to give the impression that they support this fall in the rupee’s value in the interests of competitiveness.”

US economy: The dollar is having a good run this year due to an uptick in the US’s GDP numbers. That country’s economy grew 4.1% in the second quarter of this year, the fastest since late 2014. It has also been adding more jobs, while average wages have picked up, too.

By all indications, most of these global cues are unlikely to change much in the immediate future. So businesses and individuals in India need to brace themselves.

Hasan said...

Riaz Sb,

How can this data be possible? Every article written by hindustani authors suggests that their country is a fully developed first world powerhouse, just months away from becoming the world's leading superpower...why would people be queueing up to leave such a paradise on earth? It just doesn't make sense. Your data must be part of an ISI conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

It would take only a simple analysis to understand that the rise of asylum applications from India has nothing to do with Modi or any other government in India. Most of the asylum applications are from Punjab, Haryana and Andhra region. Punjab is ruled by Congress, Andhra region by regional parties who are anti-Modi and anti-Congress. Also, predominantly asylum seekers are Sikhs and Hindus (and not Muslims and Dalits). Now there is an irony here. If Muslims and Dalits have the lowest income levels in India and if the claims of their mistreatment were true, it would be those people who would be the ones seeking asylum.

The simple fact is that migration from India is no different than migration from other countries in the region. Its economic migration and predominantly chain migration. Asylum is yet another route to finding greener pastures.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "If Muslims and Dalits have the lowest income levels in India and if the claims of their mistreatment were true, it would be those people who would be the ones seeking asylum."

There's lots of data that shows the poorest and the weakest don't migrate. They simply don'r have the basic resources to get passports, buy air tickets and pay agents to make the move.

"One of the more intriguing nuggets about the Africa emigration story is that far from fleeing poverty, migrants out of the continent are likely to be relatively well off, and are rarely from the most destitute families" Mail and Guardian Africa

The above quote comes to mind when answering an oft-repeated question: "Why don't Indian Muslims migrate to Pakistan?" This question of why don't all of the Muslims migrate out of India to Pakistan and other Muslim nations is most often asked by the Hindu Nationalists who seek to make their country 100% "Hindu Rashtra".

Riaz Haq said...

Vicious reaction to #NaseeruddinShah underscores shrinking space for minorities. Shah Rukh Khan was compared to Hafiz Saeed by the #BJP’s Adityanath for speaking about #India’s climate of “extreme intolerance”. #Modi #Hindutva #Islamophobia via @scroll_in

“The death of a cow has more significance than that of a police officer,” said actor Naseeruddin Shah in an interview released on December 17. He was referring to the December 3 tumult in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, in which violence by cow vigilantes from the Bajrang Dal left a policeman dead. Shah highlighted these events as an example of India’s fraught communal climate and the impunity enjoyed by people who commit such acts of violence.

To all reasonable people, there was nothing wrong in what Shah said. It is alarming that the Uttar Pradesh administration decided to prioritise the investigation into the alleged killing of cows that triggered the violence instead trying to detain the men who murdered the police officer. After all, even Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had described the inspector’s shooting as an accident. Yet, for stating this simple fact, Shah was called a “Pakistani agent” by the Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party chief and accused of treason by Ramdev, the yoga guru-turned-consumer goods magnate who is perceived to be close to the BJP. Most alarming, after protests raised fears of violence, the organisers of the Ajmer Literature Festival on Friday cancelled a session that Shah was to address.

These vicious reactions have less to do with the substance of Shah’s statements and much more to do with his identity as a Muslim. This is not the first time a Muslim actor has been criticised for expressing his views on society and politics. In 2015, Shah Rukh Khan was compared to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed by the BJP’s Adityanath for speaking about India’s climate of “extreme intolerance”. The next year, much the same thing happened with Aamir Khan: he was attacked for appearing to criticise growing intolerance. The actor even lost a major advertising contract as a result.

The fact that even Muslim celebrities are now expected to keep their political views to themselves sharply illustrates a core aspect of Hindutva: making minorities politically irrelevant. The BJP has made it a point of pride to ignore Muslims during election campaigns, choosing to build a purely Hindu consensus in places such as Uttar Pradesh. Other parties that court Muslims are derided as minority appeasers.

This strategy has been quite successful politically. In many cases, even politicians who want Muslim votes are wary of raising issues that affect the community. Political representation has seen a sharp drop. The number of Muslims in the current Lok Sabha is at an all-time low. There are only 22 Muslim MPs in the 545-strong House – less than a third of what it should have been were the Lok Sabha to mirror India’s demographic composition.

Being involved in the political life of their country is a basic right for any Indian citizen. India’s 170 million Muslims must not be shut out of political affairs.

Riaz Haq said...

#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

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.

Riaz Haq said...

Hundreds of #Indian #students face jail, deportation from #UnitedStates after the arrest of 8 men from #India in #fake university scam via @htTweets

Hundreds of students from India face deportation or criminal charges after the arrest Wednesday of eight men of Indian origin who had enrolled them at a fake university run by undercover US agents in a sting operation to snare racketeers who misuse the student visa to help unqualified foreigners stay and work.

US justice department’s Michigan branch announced the arrest of the eight men, whose names indicated they were either Indians or American citizens of Indian descent, all over the country, charged with visa fraud and harboring aliens for profit, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

The alleged recruiters arrested were identified as Barath Kakireddy, of Florida; Suresh Kandala, of Virginia; Phanideep Karnati, of Kentucky; Prem Rampeesa, of North Carolina; Santosh Sama, of California; Avinash Thakkallapally, of Pennsylvania; Aswanth Nune, of Georgia; and Naveen Prathipati, of Texas,

A number of students enrolled in this fake institution, University of Farmington in Michigan state, were also taken into custody by agents of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in an early morning swoop — “5:00 am and thereabouts”, said someone who was told of it by witnesses — all over the country.

Those apprehended could be around 200, according to official sources and witness accounts, of the total of an estimated 600 enrolled. But, those in the know warned, all 600 could be on the deportation list, and only, if they were lucky. Some of them could be looking at a jail term as well.

The Indian embassy here and its consulates have been in touch with US officials and also with some of affected students or those who know them and is working on how to help them.

There was no response from ICE to request for information about the number of Indian students arrested or detained and their fate — if they were being detained or arrested for deportation eventually or that they could also be charged with criminal offenses, and tried and incarcerated here.

In one of the early morning raids, as described in a second-hand account, government agents asked students to name their professors at the school to test whether they were complicit in the scam — of enrolling in a school knowing it had never held classes, because it wasn’t meant to as a “pay-to-stay” operation.

“Don’t worry, we know you can’t name them,” one agent is said to have told the student.

University of Farmington was a fake institution started and run by undercover agents from the Department of Homeland Security since 2015, said one of the three related indictments that were unsealed Wednesday, to “identify recruiters and entities engaged in immigration fraud”. It was not staffed with educators or instructors, had no curriculum and held no classes or educational activities. It was run out of a commercial building.

The enrolled students, the indictments alleged, were not victims of the scam, but willful collaborators. “Each of the foreign citizens who ‘enrolled’ and made ‘tuition’ payments to the University knew that they would not attend any actual classes, earn credits, or make academic progress toward an actual degree in a particular field of study — a “pay to stay’’ scheme.

“Rather, their intent was to fraudulently maintain their student visa status and to obtain work authorization under the CPT (a course-related curricular training programme that allows off-campus work authorization for foreign students).

“Each student knew that the University’s program was not approved by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was illegal, and that discretion should be used when discussing the program with others.”

Riaz Haq said...

A 6-year-old girl from #India died after crossing the #US-#Mexico border. In 2018, 8,997 people from #India were apprehended at the #Southwest border -- more than triple the number from the year before, when 2,943 Indian #illegal #migrants were caught.

On the day she died, the little girl was thousands of miles away from the country where she was born.

US Border Patrol agents found her remains this week in an area officials describe as "rugged desert wilderness," 17 miles west of Lukeville, Arizona. In a statement Thursday, US Customs and Border Protection said the deceased child was believed to be a citizen of India, and that she had been traveling in a group reportedly dropped off near the border "by human smugglers who ordered the group to cross in the dangerous and austere location."
An Arizona medical examiner said Friday that 6-year-old Gurupreet Kaur had died of hyperthermia. Temperatures in the area where agents found her remains Wednesday hovered around 108 degrees.
Her death highlights a rarely discussed reality that's been playing out at the US-Mexico border in recent years: A growing number of migrants from India have been crossing there.
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The number of Indian nationals apprehended at the Southwest border has been steadily climbing, and sharply increased last year, according to Border Patrol statistics. In the 2018 fiscal year, 8,997 people from India were apprehended at the Southwest border -- more than triple the number from the year before, when 2,943 Indian migrants were apprehended.

A larger trend
That's still a small percentage -- about 2% of the overall number of migrants apprehended at the Southwest border in fiscal year 2018. The clear majority of migrants apprehended at the border came from Latin American countries, largely from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
But the increase in Indians apprehended is notable. And it's part of a larger trend.
"There has been a pretty significant increase in general in migrants coming from other continents. It's not just Indians, says Jessica Bolter, a research assistant at the Migration Policy Institute who tracks migration patterns at the border.
An increase in Indian nationals and other migrants from outside the Western Hemisphere illegally crossing the US-Mexico border has been "an emerging trend for the past few years," a Department of Homeland Security official told CNN Friday.
The apprehensions of migrants from Bangladesh at the southwest border also increased significantly from fiscal year 2017 to fiscal year 2018, nearly doubling from 564 to 1,198.
US Customs and Border Protection officials have recently highlighted the cases of groups of African migrants apprehended in Texas, noting that groups that arrived recently were primarily made up of families from the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola.
"With this girl from India, there hasn't been confirmation that she was traveling in a family, but it's likely," Bolter said. "This trend of increased family migration is echoing not just throughout Central America, but also beyond even the Americas. It indicates the message that families can enter the US easily is spreading."

Riaz Haq said...

Number of #Indians political #asylum seekers jumps 996% in 10 years, up from 4,722 in 2009 to 51,769 in By 2018, according to #UNHCR. #Modi #BJP #India via @indiatoday

he number of Indians who feel their life would be in danger if they continue to reside in the country is increasing at an exponential rate. An indicator of this trend for any country is the number of its citizens seeking political asylum in other countries.

For India, in the 10 years between 2008 and 2018, the total number of such people rose 996.33 per cent. These are Indians who have requested political asylum in other countries on the grounds that they feel fearful to continue living in the country.

In 2009, only 4,722 Indians felt scared to live in India and thus applied for political asylum in other countries. By 2018, this number rose to 51,769, reveals an analysis of data collected by the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In these 10 years, the United States and Canada have remained the most favoured countries for Indians seeking political asylum. In 2009, as many as 1,321 Indians applied for political asylum in the US while 1,039 did it in Canada.

While these two countries are still favourites among Indian political asylum seekers, the gulf between the number of Indians applying in the US and Canada has widened in the past decade.

Ten years ago, the difference in applications for the US and Canada was marginal--just 282. But by 2018, it ballooned to 22,967. (A total of 28,489 Indians applied for political asylum in the US in 2018 while 5,522 did it in Canada.)

United Nations data on asylum seekers for 2018 show that after the US and Canada, Indians prefer to seek political asylum in South Africa (4,329), followed by Australia (3,584), the UK (1,667), South Korea (1,657) and Germany (1,313).

Seeking political asylum in these countries isn't surprising as they are all developed economies and have an image of being peaceful and prosperous.

But what may come as surprising to some is that Indians have also sought political asylum in countries like Yemen, Sudan, Burundi, Bosnia among others--countries which have routinely hogged headlines for war and armed unrest in recent times.

Overall, in 2018 there were 57 countries where Indians applied for political asylum.

UNHCR reports show that despite being the world's largest democracy, India is not a popular destination among political asylum seekers.

For example, in 2018 there were 35.03 lakh political asylum seekers in the world but only 0.34 per cent of them (11,957) sought political asylum in India.

The US, Germany and Turkey were the most favoured destinations for political asylum seekers with 7.18 lakh, 3.69 lakh and 3.11 lakh people applying to these countries respectively.

But this does not mean that no one is applying to India. When it comes to South Asia, India has the largest number of political asylum applications. In 2018, of the 11,957 political asylum seekers in India, 65 per cent (7,864) were from Afghanistan. This was followed by those from Myanmar (2,064) and Yemen (1,134).

Riaz Haq 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

"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.