As the media floods the airwaves with coverage of Central American migrants, they have all but ignored a major development along the Southern border – the massive increase in illegal aliens coming from India. While Indians still comprise the largest population of H-1B visa holders, they now represent the fastest-growing illegal immigrant group in the nation.
According to data from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearing House (TRAC), in the current fiscal year, 3,752 Indian nationals were arrested by Border Patrol agents – a figure that already surpassed the total number arrested in FY2017 (2,055) and FY2016 (3,398).
The spike, however, is not isolated, nor is it new.
“There is an unprecedented flood,” immigration attorney John Lawit told The Hindustan Times in 2016, adding that illegals were paying smugglers $30,000 to travel from India. And in 2013, Arizona experienced a flood of Indians, some of whom had paid $35,000 to illegally cross the border.
While there was a temporary decline, the flood of illegals are once again exploiting holes in the nation’s immigration system.
“I think that the word has gone out that there are various ways that you can try to move. And coming through the Mexican border remains one of the more accessible ways,” UCLA history professor Vinay Lal told The Los Angeles Times.
Indian nationals presently comprise 380 of the 680 migrants housed at the federal prison in Victorville, California. And most cite religious or political persecution in making their asylum claims, despite few of those claims being accepted.
Of the Indian nationals processed by Border Patrol agents, 3,561 were denied entry and recommended for “expedited removal,” according to TRAC data.
But many continue to bet that their knowledge of how U.S. immigration law works will enable them to game the system.
El Centro (Southern California) Border Sector Chief Gloria Chavez told Fox News that many use official documents to travel to Mexico, but destroy them when they arrive in order to avoid identification.
“Many use their lack of identification to claim to be one person in Mexico and another one in the United States,” she stated “In Mexico, they claim to be an adult because unaccompanied minors under 18 are arrested. In the U.S., the opposite is true. Here, they claim to be juveniles so they must be released.”
Despite the political unease in India, even some left-leaning immigration experts question the legitimacy of persecution claims.
“The political basis for applying for asylum during the 80s might have been quite high but then one could argue that there is a democratic government in Punjab for the past many years, and it has sometimes been led by the Akali Dal party, believed to be the Sikhs’ party. So, the argument of political persecution does not seem to hold at all these days as far as people from Punjab are concerned,” the Migration Policy Institute’s Muzaffar Chishti said recently.
The surge of illegal immigrants from India confirms (again) that our broken immigration system is a game being played by smugglers and illegals alike.