Illegal Migrants Are Double Timing It Over US-Canada Border As 2024 Election Looms

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Jake Smith Contributor
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Illegal immigrants hailing from India are pouring across the U.S.’ northern border at a rapidly increasing rate as 2024’s high-stakes presidential election approaches.

The U.S.-Canada border has become a popular crossing point for illegal migrants due to the vast number of easy entry points and a lack of physical barriers, which are more common at the southern border. The percentage of Indian migrants crossing the northern border has skyrocketed; there were 1,872 Border Patrol apprehensions in fiscal year 2023, compared to just 42 in fiscal year 2021, representing a 4357% increase, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data. (RELATED: ‘Major Problem’: Dems Admit The Border Isn’t Secure, But Will Vote To Dismiss Mayorkas Impeachment Anyway)

Illegal immigration is a hot-button issue with voters heading into November as border encounters have surged under the Biden administration. Former President Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration if re-elected in November.

“People are trying to get a lot of things in before November, but also obviously before January, if November ends up being in favor of Trump,” Chirag Patel, a Maryland-based immigration lawyer, told Voice of America.

(Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

A gas station near the US/Canada border March 2, 2017, in the border town of Pohenegamook, Quebec. Local residents from Pohenegamook must cross through US customs to buy gas. A boundary stone can be seen just to the left of the sign showing the price of gas. (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

Illegal Indian migrants are crossing into the U.S. for a host of reasons, including for fear of prosecution from their home country or for economic motives, according to VOA. Indian migrants are typically wealthy relative to India’s economic state and often come from affluent regions like Gujarat and Punjab; even the costly travel route, which can rise above $50,000, is affordable for these migrants, Devesh Kapur, director of Asia Programs and professor of South Asian Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, told VOA.

Some Indians chose to migrate through the U.S.-Canada border rather than the Mexico border because it is a typically faster and safer route, according to VOA. The northern border is much more expansive than its southern counterpart, and migrants aren’t faced with obstacles such as border fences or walls that are present in the south.

Migrants can also enter Canada without a visa and then travel southbound. Migrants can fly into Canada from Mexico and then cross the U.S.-Canada border rather than travel north to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

“Now more and more people are just entering Canada, so they can just go straight to the U.S. because the economy is better, job prospects are better there,” Shinder Purewal, a political scientist and professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia, told VOA.

More broadly, illegal immigration through both the northern and southern border has spiked under the Biden administration. There were roughly 1.6 million migrant encounters at the northern and southern border in fiscal year 2021, compared to over 2 million in fiscal year 2023 and nearly a million in the first five months of year 2024.

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