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More People from India Are Making the Perilous Journey to the U.S. Border

This summary about immigrants crossing the U.S. border from India was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Since the start of fiscal year 2022, which began last October, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has detained over 16,000 citizens of India. That’s five times as many Indian migrants that arrived at the border last year. The previous high came five years ago, with nearly 9,000 Indian citizens arriving in 2018.

A graph shows thousands more Indians have traveled to the U.S. border in the past year compared to the years before.

People coming to the border from India and seeking asylum is not new. From fiscal years 2017 to 2020 under the Trump administration, more than 20,000 Indian nationals sought asylum at the southern border.

Several reasons behind the increase: A climate of discrimination in India has led many to desperately seek a chance at safety. Jashan Preet Singh, 24, an openly gay man, traveled nearly 8,000 miles from India through Turkey and France to California to escape harassment and beatings by neighbors. He told the BBC about 20 people tried to attack him before he journeyed to the U.S. and it left him with a mutilated arm and severed thumb.

Other Indians have fled home for economic reasons. Experts also point to an increase in the operations of smugglers, as well as the perception that border restrictions under the Biden administration are weaker compared to Trump’s.

The Guardian quoted U.S. immigration lawyers in 2020 saying the rise in undocumented Indian migration is connected to “the rise of the Hindu nationalist ruling party and the sectarian violence it has inspired.”

An expensive undertaking: Sandeep Wasnik, a business consultant in Latin America, told Financial Express that human traffickers who operate flights charge around $20,000 to $75,000 for travel to the U.S. and European countries. They face possible robberies, rape, extortion, and even death on their journey — and upon reaching the U.S. they still face the long legal process to apply for asylum.


New York

$90,000 recovered in stolen wages for Queens laundry workers: The state attorney general’s office alleged Fat-Lun Kong and Cheng Teh Tang, co-owners of JM Pro Cleaner, failed to pay minimum wage and proper overtime rate, and failed to offer paid sick leave. — Read more from the AG’s Press Office

Around the U.S. 

Supreme Court declines to decide if American Samoans should get birthright U.S. citizenship: The justices turned down a petition by three American Samoans living in Utah who said their designation as U.S. nationals rather than full citizens violates the Constitution. — Reuters

New U.N. data shows more than 7 million Venezuelans have left their homeland since 2015: The UN’s representative for Venezuelan migrants said half of all the country’s refugees and migrants cannot afford food and lack access to safe housing. — BBC

Washington D.C.

Top public health expert on migration refused to approve Title 42:  Dr. Marty Cetron told Congress he believed the measure, enacted by Trump and retained by Biden, unfairly stigmatized migrants as spreaders of COVID-19. — CBS News

Mexico town hosting thousands of Venezuelans as they come to terms with new U.S. policy: San Pedro Tapanatepec’s migrant population has about doubled in the last two weeks as the U.S. implements a policy discouraging border crossings. — AP News

Feds demand Arizona remove shipping containers patching border wall holes: The double-stacked shipping containers are being used as a makeshift border wall, but federal officials say they’re breaking the law. — AP News

Biden using Title 42 to limit Venezuelan border crossers: Under the new policy, Venezuelans who cross the southern border will be expelled and those who enter Mexico or Panama without a visa will be ineligible to travel to the U.S. — AP News

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