While the immigration stories of yesteryear have often centered around pursuing ‘the American Dream,’ today, countless individuals are simply trying to enter the country to escape a climate of discrimination in their own home country.
In India, this is especially true. Now, new data shows there has been a serious spike in the number of Indian people trying to enter the country at the Mexican border, with over 16,290 people taken into custody there by Customs and Border Patrol since 2021. Previously, the record high (recorded in 2018) was just 9,000.
So why the spike? Well, for one, many believe that there is a new sense of urgency for Indian people fleeing their home country. Experts, like immigration attorney Deepak Ahluwalia, point to issues of growing discrimination in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled India, where communities have faced harsh judgment and persecution based on their religion, sexuality, or political allegiance.
How Have Pandemic-Era Restrictions Affected This Spike?
With pandemic-era restrictions lifted across the US-Mexico land border, more and more Indian families have tried to enter the country, reports Quartz, citing an earlier BBC interview with Deepak Ahluwalia.
This is because, as of May 23, Title 42 was officially terminated, thus opening the border back up to migrants and asylum seekers. Critics of Title 42 have previously complained that the outdated order has been expelling migrants to dangerous places in Mexico without any scientific need or evidence under the guise of public health protections while denying them their legal right to request asylum in the United States.
The Myth of ‘Illegal’ Immigration
No family struggling to enter the country is going to weigh the decision as anything less than life-threatening. Today, those who have endeavored to cross the border — to then legally apply for asylum status — have often had to do so by the most difficult means imaginable.
And so, why do they take these routes? Because for more than 200,000 Indian people, the current wait for a green card is even longer than their lifetime. Many of those who have filed petitions for permanent residency in the US could die of old age before ever receiving the ‘green light’ to travel.
Moreover, consider that with over 700,000 skilled Indian workers in line for an employment-based green card and only 7,956 green cards awarded each year, it would currently take 89 years to process every application.
No Other Means of Entering the Country
In a world where legal routes are next to impossible, those who are the most desperate to escape their situation must risk their lives by either paying human traffickers between $20,000 to $75,000 per trip or else experiment with ‘donkey flights’ — roundabout trips arranged through loopholes in port of entry laws.
Taking a donkey flight often means flying into a South American country, where it will be easier to secure a temporary visa to disembark, and then making the long trip through Central America to reach U.S. soil. That said, entrance is still not guaranteed, and many of those who attempt either journey will risk robbery, rape, and even death.
Can Asylum Seekers Receive Legal Citizenship?
Once in the United States, an individual seeking asylum must file an initial form in which they officially request asylum. From there, they will have to present their case before a judge and wait out multiple hearings — and at times even years of deliberation — before receiving a decision.
Asylum allows for 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.
In India, where political extremists are still rising to power and gaining more and more influence, it’s natural to expect that more and more people are going to need to leave the country after experiencing terrifying judgment and discrimination.
Nevertheless, according to a recent report, it’s estimated that nearly 46,467 people from India fled in 2022 to apply for asylum in other countries. 9,686 people fled to the United States. Of these, only 125 were awarded positive decisions. Another 803 were rejected, with 8,758 people still awaiting a decision.
If you are facing discrimination or challenges in regard to admission into the United States, your treatment at the border, or the treatment of a family member currently being held in a U.S. facility, do not hesitate to reach out to Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law. Experienced immigration lawyers are available to assist, and we are dedicated to fighting for your rights to seek out your dreams, free from persecution.
Call (559) 878-4958 or contact us online to schedule your confidential case review with no obligation.