Record Number of Indians Seeking Asylum in US at Mexico Border
In the current fiscal year that started last October, a record 16,290 Indian citizens have been taken into custody by US Border Patrol at the Mexican border. A substantial number of them are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Dalits who are escaping persecution in the country ruled by the Hindu Nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Genocide Watch has issued "India Genocide Warning" stating as follows: "Islamophobia is no longer a fringe sentiment in India. It has become a state-manufactured ideology. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made Islamophobia central to its program for harassing India's 192 million Muslims and depriving them of their rights as Indian citizens".
|Indian Asylum Seekers at US-Mexico Border. Source: BBC
Experts attribute the record increase in asylum seekers to a a number of factors, including rising discrimination in India, an end to pandemic-era restrictions, a perception that the current US administration is welcoming to asylum seekers and the ramping-up of previously established smuggling networks, according to the BBC.
Of the roughly 3.5 million undocumented immigrants who entered the country between 2010 and 2017, 65 percent arrived with full permission stamped into their passports, according to new figures compiled by the Center for Migration Studies, a nonpartisan think tank. During that period, more overstayers arrived from India than from any other country, according to the New York Times.
It's a similar story in the UK where Home Secretary Suella Braverman was recently quoted by the BBC as saying: "I have concerns about having an open borders migration policy with India because I don't think that's what people voted for with Brexit… The largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants. We even reached an agreement with the Indian government last year to encourage and facilitate better cooperation in this regard. It has not necessarily worked very well."
India has also become the biggest source of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States. In 2014 about 136,000 people came to the U.S. from India, about 128,000 from China and about 123,000 from Mexico, census figures show. As recently as 2005, Mexico sent more than 10 times as many people to the U.S. as China, and more than six times as many as India, according to the WSJ story.
United States Department of Homeland Security estimates that there were 12.1 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States as of 2014. The top countries of origin are:
Mexico = 6.6 million
El Salvador = 700,000
Guatemala = 640,000
India = 430,000
Honduras = 400,000
Philippines = 360,000
The rise of Hindutva forces is tearing India apart along caste and religious lines. Hindu mobs are lynching Muslims and Dalits. A recent Pew Research report confirms that the level of hostility against religious minorities in India is "very high", giving India a score of 9.5 on a scale from 0 to 10. Pakistan's score on this scale is 7 while Bangladesh's is 7.5.
|Chart Courtesy of Bloomberg
Rising hostility against minorities is driving record numbers of asylum seekers to the United States. India has earned a score of 9.5 on a scale of 0-10 assessed by Pew Research. Genocide Watch attributes it the rise of Narendra Modi in India: "Modi rose to power by inciting Hindus with his time-tested politics of communal polarization. Beginning in 2014, Modi spent his first term as Prime Minister dehumanizing Muslims by passing laws preventing cow slaughter, restricting Muslim immigration, and purportedly countering Islamist terrorism. Modi's second term, beginning in 2019, has seen more brazen attempts by the BJP to turn India into a “Hindu Rashtra"."
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