Over the past year, thousands of illegal aliens from India -- mainly Sikhs -- have crossed illegally into Texas from Mexico and immigration officials have been caught by surprise by the influx. Kumar Kibble, deputy director of ICE, says this illegal Indian immigration is the "most significant" human-smuggling being followed by authorities.
In 2009, the Border Patrol only arrested 99 Indian nationals along the entire Southwest border. Since early 2010, more than 1,600 have been apprehended in Southern Texas alone. Although there is no evidence that this Indian-smuggling pipeline is being used to smuggle potential terrorists into the country, ICE states it is focusing on the problem. Kibble went on to say:
It's a dramatic increase. We do want to monitor these pipelines and shut them down because it is a vulnerability. They could either knowingly or unknowingly smuggle people into the U.S. that pose a national security threat.
The illegal Indians themselves claim they are fleeing religious or political persecution. Most say they are Sikhs fleeing religious persecution or members of the right-wing, ultra-Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party fleeing persecution at the hands of the ruling National Congress Party. However, analysts and human rights activists say these explanations just don't add up. Sumit Ganguly, a political science professor at Indiana University says, "There is no reason to believe these claims have any truth to them."
Most analysts and government officials believe they are coming to the U.S. for economic reasons. According to interviews with arrested illegal Indians, the Indians pay anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000 for smugglers to get them across the U.S. - Mexico border into Texas. Their journeys begin with flights to South American countries, such as Venezuela and Ecuador, that do not require visas for Indian nationals. The would-be illegal aliens then travel into Mexico via Guatemala and travel by land to Northern Mexico, where the human smugglers lead them across the Rio Grande and into Texas.
What is more troubling is that most of these arrested illegal aliens are free to walk the streets (and evade law enforcement) once they have been arrested. Once arrested, the illegal Indians claim political asylum and usually convince asylum officers they have a "credible fear" of persecution if they return home. After this, they can then post bond and go anywhere in the United States as long as they promise to appear at their next court date. Worryingly, many who have been granted temporary asylum decide to abscond from justice rather than see their cases through. This failure-to-report is going so common that some Texas immigration attorneys are refusing to represent illegal aliens from India. Cathy Potter, an immigration attorney in Harlingen, Texas, who got 20 Indians freed on bond last year, said:
...That's why I won't take their cases anymore. It undermines my credibility. I don't want anything to do with this.
However, not everyone is put out by the sudden influx of illegal Indians. Kevin Patel, the manager of the America's Best Value Inn motel in Raymondville, Texas, says he houses about 20 Indians per week, takes them to the Greyhound station, and prints out their airline boarding passes. However, Patel does admit he is baffled by the sudden arrival of so many Indians:
When they first showed up, I scratched my head a little bit..... [But,] they need a place to stay. They need food. They speak my language, so of course, as a human being, I can help them out.
Click here to read more about this odd, and troubling, story.
Updated: Mon, Jul 24th 2017 @ 2:23pm EDT