India left Mexico behind as the top country sending illegal immigrants into the United States as of 2012, according to several media reports.
American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, recorded 1,201,000 immigrants. Of those, 125,000 came from Mexico, 129,000 came from India, and 147,000 came from China. The previous year, Mexican immigration (125,000) just topped Chinese immigration (124,000).
Pew Research has found that Indians constitute four per cent of the total illegal immigrants living in the US, a country where the overall unauthorized immigrant population has remained unchanged since 2009.
Mexicans still make up about half of all unauthorized immigrants (52%), though their numbers have been declining in recent years. There were 5.9 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2012, down from 6.4 million in 2009, according to Pew Research Center estimates.
Ranking second to Mexico is El Salvador (675,000 in 2012), followed by Guatemala (525,000), India (450,000), Honduras (350,000), China (300,000) and the Philippines (200,000). But largely because of a marked decline in Mexican unauthorized immigrants since 2009, the shares of unauthorized immigrants from other nations and regions have grown. The sudden reversal of a long trend of growth in the number of Mexican unauthorized immigrants probably results from both a marked decline in new arrivals and an increase in departures to Mexico.
Among the states in America, Indians make up the largest undocumented immigrant group in New Hampshire.
While the Indian illegal immigrants comprise second largest population in Indiana with four per cent, the percentages in other states were Michigan (4%), Minnesota (9%), New Jersey (11%), Ohio (11%), Pennsylvania (11%) and Washington (5%), the report said.
Indians are the third largest unauthorized immigrants in Alaska (4%), Arizona (2%), Delaware (7%), Illinois (5%), Kansas (5%), Massachusetts (10%), Missouri (9%)and Oregon (2%).
Since the US-Mexico border crackdown on illegal immigration via Arizona and Texas, the Indian human smugglers have changed their trafficking pattern from Guatemala and Mexico land route to Haiti sea route, says a US government report.
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.
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
wow ! And we have India being branded in the US as the country which can do no wrong. This can-do-no-wrong approach was perfectly utilized by the Israeli lobby until recently. Even now, no one an criticize that lobby without ruining his/her political career. Same is with India.
But I, like most Americans, would have never thought of this ! Thanks a lot for sharing !
#Pakistan improving sanitation way faster than #India: Study - The Economic Times http://ecoti.ms/7idC2a
NEW YORK: Pakistan has left India far behind in terms of improving water and sanitation access for their citizens, reveals a new performance index released on Friday.
While Pakistan was ranked five in the new index developed by The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health in the US, India occupied an unenviable 92nd position.
High performers also included China, El Salvador, Niger, Egypt, and Maldives. Russia, the Philippines and Brazil on the other hand, were low performers.
The index compares countries regardless of size and income level. By use this method the report deduced that a country’s gross domestic product does not determine performance in improving water and sanitation access for its citizens.
“This means that even countries with limited resources can make great strides if they have the right programmes in place,” said co-author of the report Jamie Bartram, director of The Water Institute at UNC.
“National governments, NGOs, and aid agencies can direct their resources toward building systems and capacity for action in countries that are lagging, and toward implementation where those capacities are in place and performing,” Bartram noted.
Read more at:
what has sanitation got to do with the subject of this post?? Well never mind, you need something to feel better as a porki. Like we indians feel better when we see this
Allah, how come BMW is sourcing parts locally for its cars produced in India. Does it mean that the Indian manufacturing is of that high standard. Why are Pakistanis so far behind in quality? If BMW ever makes a car in Porkistan, the only locally sourced part will be a copy of holy quran in the glove box.
Hai allah, Porkis are good for masturbation only.
Anon: "what has sanitation got to do with the subject of this post?? "
Sanitation may not be important to you but most normal human beings, including normal Indians, want to escape filthy conditions in a country that leads the world in open defecation.
India's rivers have been turned into open sewers by 638 million Indians without access to toilets, according to rural development minister Jairam Ramesh. He was reacting a UNICEF report that says Indians make up 58% of the world population which still practices open defection, and the sense of public hygiene in India is the worst in South Asia and the world.
what is water equity and sanitation equity.
Shamim: "what is water equity and sanitation equity."
Country rates of change (progression or regression, percent per year) in equity of access to water were compared to the performance frontier (best-in-class performance) to generate a country value for performance in improving water equity. For the 2015 Index we used the gap in rural and urban coverage as our indicator of equity. Values for country performance in improving water equity were calculated for 129 countries.
Country rates of change (progression or regression, percent per year) in equity of access to sanitation were compared to the performance frontier (best-in-class performance) to generate a country value for performance in improving sanitation equity. For the 2015 Index we used the gap in rural and urban coverage as our indicator of equity. Values for sanitation equity performance were calculated for 126 countries.
BBC News - #Indians pray at #visa temples to go abroad. Why are #Indians escaping #india by millions? #EXODUS
Millions of Indians regularly visit temples and religious sites to pray and seek divine help in fulfilling their wishes.
Most pray for a child or well being of their loved ones, but in recent years, some unusual temples have come up, including a few that offer divine help in procuring a visa.
Divine Intervention? #Indians Seek Help From the 'Visa God' #India #visas #Exodus http://on.wsj.com/1AB8bqF via @WSJ
Divine Intervention? Indians Seek Help From the 'Visa God'
Priest Says Prayers May Aid Those Trying to Enter U.S.; A Job With Amazon.com
Lord Balaji is one of the most-worshiped local incarnations of the Hindu Lord Vishnu. His adherents flock to his many temples to pray for things like happiness, prosperity and fertility.
Lately, the deity has grown particularly popular at the once-quiet Chilkur Balaji temple here, where he goes by a new nickname: the Visa God. The temple draws 100,000 visitors a week, many of whom come to pray to Lord Balaji for visas to travel or move to the U.S. and other Western countries.
Mohanty Dolagobinda is one of the Visa God's believers. Three years ago, a U.S. consulting company applied for a visa on his behalf. It was rejected. When the company tried again the following year, Mr. Dolagobinda's friends told him to visit the Chilkur Balaji temple ahead of his interview at the U.S. consulate. Weeks later, he sailed through the interview. "I've never heard of anyone who's gone to the temple whose visa got rejected," says Mr. Dolagobinda.
In the late 1990s, this small temple on the outskirts of Hyderabad -- the capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh -- drew just two or three visitors a week.
C.S. Gopala Krishna, the 63-year-old head priest of the Chilkur Balaji Temple, wanted more people to come. So he gave Lord Balaji a new identity. "I named him the Visa God," he says. Now, Mr. Gopala Krishna's temple is a hot spot. Billboards on the dirt road to the temple advertise English-language schools and visa advisers. Next to the parking lot, vendors hawk souvenirs and fruit.
The Visa God's growing celebrity reflects the rising frustration of educated Indians hoping to move West. In recent years, it's become harder to win the employer-sponsored "H-1B" visas that let skilled professionals like engineers work in the U.S. While the U.S. limits the number of H-1Bs granted each year to 65,000, the demand for visas keeps rising.
For the fiscal year ended September 2004, it took 11 months for the U.S. government to receive 65,000 applications for H-1B visas; last fiscal year, it took two months. This fiscal year, the U.S. government received more than 65,000 applications in one day. Applications are now assigned a random number, and the first 90,000 to 110,000 are processed and accepted or rejected until the quota is reached.
Most new immigrants to #USA in 2013
For decades, Mexicans have been the largest contingent in America’s 41.3m foreign-born population. But the annual inflow has slowed dramatically. In 2013 Mexico was overtaken as the biggest source of new migrants by both China and India, according to the Census Bureau. In 2007, just before the recession, Mexicans made up 23.6% of all annual migrants. By 2013 more jobs at home and tighter border controls had reduced this to 10%, while China’s and India’s combined share rose to a quarter. These new migrants are even younger, and well-educated. Around a third of America’s 1.1m foreign students are Chinese, and some 70% of H1B visas for highly skilled jobs go to Indians.
Read more at http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21653646-futures-asian#e7V8XzDsy7t3h7UK.99
India Is the Fastest-Growing Source of New Illegal Immigrants to the U.S.
The country ranks fourth after Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala for the largest source of unauthorized migrants to America
a growing number of Indians that are less-skilled and staying in the country illegally. In fact, in recent years the net number of Indians staying in America illegally has been growing much more than even the number of new illegal Mexico-born immigrants in the country, a recent Pew Research Center report showed this week.
Of course the total number of unauthorized Mexicans in the United States is more than ten times higher than the number of Indians but most of them arrived more than a decade ago. The total for illegal immigrants born in Mexico has been shrinking while the total from India has been growing more than any other country.
In the period between 2009 and 2014, Pew estimates, the number of unauthorized Indian immigrants in the U.S. surged by 43% to a total of around 500,000. During the same period, the number of unauthorized Mexicans fell 8% to 5.85 million.
India now ranks fourth after Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala in terms of the countries that are the largest source of unauthorized migrants to America.
Despite concerns of the U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and his followers that a flood of illegal immigrants are hurting America, the number of illegals has actually been falling for years. However the steady decline of the number of illegal immigrants from Latin America has been partly offset by those arriving from Asia, led by India.
“The U.S. unauthorized immigrant population – 11.1 million in 2014 – has stabilized since the end of the Great Recession, as the number from Mexico declined but the total from other regions of the world increased,” the report said.
If you combine legal and illegal arrivals, both India and China are each sending more people to the United States in recent years. 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.
"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.
#Indian man crossed 11 countries to enter #US; now deported. #IllegalImmigration #India #Brazil #Bolivia #Peru #CostaRica #Ecuador #Colombia #Panama #Mexico https://in.news.yahoo.com/indian-man-crossed-11-countries-053939777.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw … via @YahooIndia
Indian man crossed 11 countries to enter US; now deported
20 May 2018: Indian man crossed 11 countries to enter US; now deported
An Indian man who had reportedly travelled over 10,000kms across 11 countries in a month to enter the US illegally in 2016 has been deported back after he was caught staying illegally.
The man, identified as one Harpreet Singh, hails from Punjab's Kapurthala district and was deported back to India on Saturday night on a United Airlines flight.
Here's more about Singh's 'remarkable' journey.
Journey: Singh's journey from Brazil to the US
On 20th August 2016, Harpreet Singh took a flight from the Indira Gandhi International Airport to Brazil on a valid passport.
From Bolivia, Singh arrived in Lima, Peru. From there, he reached Costa Rica passing through Ecuador, Columbia and Panama. Then, he entered Honduras and went to Guatemala and finally arrived in Mexico, the officer said.
The final leg of Singh's journey began in Mexico, from where he illegally took a boat into the US.
Details: Singh had lost his passport during his journey
But why take all this trouble?
According to deputy commissioner of police (IGI Airport), Singh's original passport and belongings were stolen by local miscreants at some point during his journey.
Singh had then approached his agent in India, who managed to get Singh a fake passport.
Singh identified his agent as one Rana - a resident of Jalandhar in Punjab.
US activities: Singh worked for 15 months in US before deportation
Police officials said that Singh had confessed that he had sneaked into the US illegally as he wanted US citizenship.
After reaching the US, Singh managed to work for 15 months at a departmental store in Louisiana before he was apprehended and deported for illegally staying in the US.
Several cases of cheating and forgery have been registered against him in India.
#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.
#US arrests foreign students using Optional Practical Training F-1 & M-1 #visa to stay in US fraudulently while working for fake companies. Those arrested include 11 #Indians, 2 #Libyans, 1 #Senegalese national and 1 #Bangladeshi national. #SiliconValley https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/ice-arrests-15-foreign-students-allegedly-using-visa-program-stay-n1244170
Fifteen foreign students have been arrested for allegedly using a student work visa job program to stay in the U.S. fraudulently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on Wednesday.
Officials from ICE and the Department of Homeland Security said the students. most from India, had claimed to work for companies that don't exist, and that the arrests were preliminary results from a law enforcement investigation that began in January called Operation OPTical Illusion.
"The arrests we highlight today are just the beginning and should serve as a warning," said Tony Pham, the senior official now performing the duty of ICE director. "Any non-immigrant student who fails to maintain or violates the terms of their non-immigration status is subject to arrest and removal from the United States."
The "OPT" in the operation's name refers to "Optional Practical Training," a program offered to foreign students allowing them to remain in the U.S. and gain work experience while studying in, and after graduating from, American colleges and universities. OPT is temporary employment, permitted to students with F-1 and M-1 student visas, and must be directly related to a student's major area of study.
In May, citing NBC News reporting, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, asked DHS to answer questions about the scope of fraud in a U.S. student visa program.
DHS and ICE officials said Wednesday that their investigation had identified 1,100 foreign nationals who appeared to be "not obeying the law." The officials said ICE had sent letters to 700 of them informing them it was revoking their work permits.
An ICE press release said the 15 arrests "took place in and around" Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston, and Nashville, among other cities. Those arrested included 11 Indian nationals, two Libyan nationals, one Senegalese national and one Bangladeshi national.
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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