Over 22,000 Indians, including nearly 7,000 women, have applied for asylum in the U.S. since 2014, according to the latest official figures.
The reason behind Indians seeking asylum in the U.S. can be “unemployment or intolerance or both in India”, Satnam Singh Chahal, executive director of North American Punjabi Association (NAPA), said in a statement.
As many as 22,371 Indians have sought asylum in America since 2014, according to the information obtained by NAPA through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s National Records Centre.
These numbers are a “serious concern”, Mr. Chahal said.
Of the total Indian asylum-seekers in 2014, as many as 6,935 were women and 15,436 men, he said.
Mr. Singh, who has been working among asylum-seekers, said for those who manage to make it to the U.S. through illegal means, the asylum-seeking process can exacerbate their suffering.
After entering the U.S., many hire private attorneys who charge them a fee which is beyond their means to pay.
Therefore, Indians who wish to come to the U.S. must enter the country through legal means to avoid hardships, Mr. Singh said.
He said most asylum-seekers face long and often painful waiting periods. Until they are granted asylum, despite the degree of danger they might be facing in their home country, asylum-seekers cannot bring immediate family members to the U.S.
Earlier this month, Mexico deported 311 Indians, including one woman, for illegally entering the country to enter the U.S.
At the start of the Trump administration in 2017, as many as 542,411 cases were pending before immigration judges. By September 2019, the backlog had grown to 1,023,767 “active” cases, Mr. Singh said, quoting the data.
“This rises to 1,346,302 when cases that have not yet been calendared are added,” Mr. Singh said.