Indians Face Life-Threatening Dangers When Immigrating Through the US-Mexico Border

Religious or political persecution in India is believed to be a primary factor in the increasing number of Indians immigrating to the US.

In 2018, US Customs and Border Control captured almost 9,000 Indians who were attempting to enter the US by crossing its border with Mexico, nearly a threefold increase from 2017. Recently, Mexico deported 311 Indians who were planning a similar approach.

Deepak Ahluwalia, an immigration attorney in Fresno, California, explains that Indian political dissidents, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community are most likely to seek asylum in other countries, including the US.

Unfortunately, they sometimes leave one unsafe situation for another.

How Do Indian Immigrants Begin Their Journey to the US?

Entering an official port on a student or tourist visa is often the first step, but not everyone is approved for one of these options. When someone is desperate to immigrate due to persecution at home, they may instead seek the help of smugglers, who often work for a cartel.

This attempt could involve flying from India to Ecuador or Brazil, two countries with lenient visa laws. Next, immigrants travel through Central America until they reach the US-Mexico border, where many people attempt to cross in intense heat and other dangerous conditions.

This was the case for six-year-old Gurapreet Kaur, who tragically died in the Arizona desert while making the crossing with her mother and three other Indian immigrants.

Smugglers left the group in a secluded area not far from the border and gave them vague instructions to “walk north.” The immigrants did so, but Gurapreet and another child struggled in the intense heat, which hit 108 degrees that day. 

Gurapreet’s mother and another woman broke off from the group to seek out water but were unable to reunite with the others. Border Patrol found the two migrants and searched for the other three group members, eventually finding Gurapreet’s body.

A medical examiner later learned she had died of heat stroke. The other child and her mother were treated for dehydration at a nearby hospital.

A recent deportee named Mandeep told journalists that the experience was harrowing even before he reached the desert. While traveling through a forested area, he says that he observed several corpses, possibly of people trying to make the same journey he was.

Appalling Conditions in US Detention Camps

Another risk for immigrants is being caught by Border Patrol, which can result in days or weeks inside a US detention camp.

Some deported immigrants say their water usage was strictly limited, and medical care was inadequate in the camps. Many report that they would not attempt to immigrate through the US-Mexico border again.

Get Help With an Immigration or Asylum Case

Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law and its lead attorney, Deepak Ahluwalia, are trusted sources of immigration knowledge. Mr. Ahluwalia has spoken on the topic to CNN, the BBC, The Guardian, and other worldwide news sources.

If you plan to make an asylum claim, need work authorization, want to pursue citizenship, or have questions or concerns about any immigration matter, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation about your options.