5x Hike in Undocumented Indian Immigrants to the US, Nearly 97,000 Caught Over Past Year: US Data

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New Delhi: A staggering 96,917 Indians were apprehended while crossing into the United States, without documentation, between October 2022 and September 2023 according to the US Customs and Border Protection (UCBP) data.

Of the nearly 97,000 Indians, 30,010 were caught at the Canada border and 41,770 at the frontier with Mexico, a Times of India (TOI) report said. The rest were tracked down after they entered US territory.

While this marks a fivefold increase from over 19,883 Indians caught the year before, the actual numbers could be significantly higher as these figures are based only on recorded cases, law enforcement agencies pointed out.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. For every person caught at the border, there may be at least 10 others who successfully infiltrated the US,” a police officer in Gujarat told the paper.

“These are mainly people from Gujarat and Punjab who have aspirations to settle in America,” another police officer probing immigration rackets in Gujarat said.

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Those arrested are classified under four categories — unaccompanied children, children accompanied by family members, and entire families. Single adults make up the largest category.

According to the UCBP data, 84,000 single adults and 730 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the US border this year.

The number of people opting for risky routes into the US has shot up in the wake of the pandemic-era border policy, ‘Title 42’, that allowed US authorities to deport undocumented immigrants without asylum hearings.

Senator James Lankford on Thursday (November 2) said, “So far this year we’ve had 45,000 people from India that have crossed our southern border, paid the cartels, crossed into our country, and said they have fear in their country from India.”

He added that Mexican cartels are “coaching” people on what to say and how to game the American system while seeking asylum.

According to a 2019 report from an American think tank, undocumented Indian immigrants to the US, numbering over half a million, hold a collective spending power of $15.5 billion and contribute $2.8 billion to the federal, state and local tax revenue. This makes them the top third contributor to the US economy among other undocumented immigrants, the report said.

Despite several reports of tragic incidents involving families attempting to cross the border without documentation, people continue to take up hazardous routes into the US, the TOI report said.



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