Four Indian Migrants Found Dead at the Canadian Border Illustrate the Deadly Trial of Reaching the US

The snowy wilderness of Canada after a blizzard.In Manitoba in 2022, Royal Canadian Mounted Police officials discovered the bodies of four Indian citizens. The deceased included a man, a woman, a teen, and a baby.

They were found in a remote area near Emerson, just a few miles from the U.S. border. Officials believe they perished while trying to cross into the United States during a heavy snowstorm in freezing temperatures.

Deepak Ahluwalia, an immigration lawyer working with asylum seekers in California, said the Emerson crossing is often used by smugglers and migrants who know its remoteness will keep it inaccessible to patrol officers.

Meanwhile, police in India’s Gujarat are investigating the case. Ashish Bhatia, director general of police in Gujarat, adds, “It’s very clear that these people went to Canada and they were illegally trying to enter the U.S.A., so … we are looking into that.”

Human Smugglers Responsible for Endangering Migrants — And Sending Some to Their Deaths

Bhatia said that investigators were trying to determine whether a travel agent in India had helped the group.

More and more, ‘travel agents’ are helping Indian citizens flee the country by arranging ‘donkey flights,’ i.e., roundabout trips that allow visitors to enter the country through loopholes in the port of entry laws. Individuals are forced to work with human smugglers — often paying them between $20,000 to $75,000 to arrange a door-to-door trip into the country. More and more, these journeys also require individuals to travel long distances by foot through dangerous remote terrain.

Once in the country, any individual who has fled their home country at the threat of discrimination or persecution has the opportunity to seek asylum. Unfortunately, with green card and asylum applications at a near standstill, it can be difficult for newcomers to receive the life-changing documents they need in a timely manner.

Moreover, because of the backlog of applications, legal routes into the country are few and far between. As a result, people are forced to attempt dangerous, roundabout journeys into the country — in the hope that once they’re here, they’ll be able to legally seek asylum.

In the case of these four Indian citizens, investigators have announced that they believe the deaths were linked to a human smuggling scheme. Another group picked up by the same team explained that they had been walking for 11 hours through the bitter cold before being found by the police. One woman was taken to the hospital to have one of her hands partially amputated because of frostbite injuries.

Another man had paid a large sum for a fake Canadian student visa and was expecting a ride to a relative in Chicago after he crossed.

Why Are Migrants Attempting These Dangerous Journeys?

In recent years, India has seen a dramatic rise in religious, political, and socioeconomic tensions. Religious minorities in the now Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled are facing growing discrimination, as are those in the LGBTQ community, the secessionist movement, and farmers in the Punjab region.

With growing tensions, many families have been forced to flee their home country in the hope of seeking asylum in the United States.

Today, asylum allows protections for those who can prove they have suffered persecution (or have a credible fear of harm) based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

So if you or a loved one has faced any discrimination or challenges in your attempt to enter the United States — including your treatment at the border or while being held in a U.S. facility — do not hesitate to reach out to the immigration lawyers Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law. We are available to assist, and we are dedicated to fighting for your right to live your life free from persecution.

Call (559) 878-4958 or contact us online to schedule your confidential case review with no obligation.