According to information presented in Parliament by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the United States authorities have come across more than 200,000 illegal Indian immigrants in the past five years. The highest number of cases, reaching 96,917, was reported in the year 2022-23.
Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, disclosed that in 2018-19, 8,027 illegal Indian immigrants were encountered, followed by 1,227 in 2019-20, and a notable increase to 30,662 in 2020-21.
The figures for 2021-22 stood at 63,927. The cumulative total of illegal Indian immigrants encountered by US authorities stands at 200,760, as per data sourced from the website of the US Customs and Border Protection, as mentioned by Muraleedharan.
V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, clarified that the data is based on the US fiscal year (October to September). He stated that specific information about the number of Indian nationals who lost their lives while attempting to cross the US border is not available.
Emphasising the government’s commitment to the safety, security, and well-being of Indian nationals abroad, he mentioned that the recruitment of Indian nationals for overseas employment is regulated under the Emigration Act of 1983.
Muraleedharan highlighted various initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to promote legal migration. These efforts include the Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojna (PBBY) and Pre-Departure Orientation and Training (PDOT), aimed at ensuring safe migration and providing migrant workers with decent working and living conditions in destination countries.
Additionally, he noted that the MEA launched the ‘Surakshit Jayen Prashikshit Jayen’ (Go Safe, Go Trained) campaign in 2018 to raise awareness among prospective emigrants.
India has entered into migration and mobility partnership agreements with several countries, including France, the UK, Germany, Australia, Austria, and Italy, to leverage India’s demographic dividend, according to Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan.
He mentioned that similar labour mobility partnership agreements or memoranda of understanding have been executed with Denmark, Japan, Portugal, Mauritius, and Israel.
Muraleedharan informed that the Ministry of External Affairs is collaborating with state governments and relevant stakeholders to disseminate information regarding the advantages of safe and legal migration as well as overseas employment opportunities.
Additionally, he highlighted that complaints related to illegal migration and human trafficking are referred to the State police for investigation and prosecution.
In a recent study conducted last month by the US-based Pew Research Center, it was revealed that Indians constitute the third-largest group of illegal immigrants entering the United States. The largest contingent hails from Mexico, with El Salvadorians ranking second.
As per the study, approximately 725,000 individuals of Indian origin are currently residing in the US. Comparatively, the largest groups are from Mexico, with around 900,000 immigrants, followed by El Salvador with 800,000.
Following Indians, Guatemalans occupy the fourth position, totaling 700,000 illegal immigrants, while Hondurans hold the fifth spot with a population of 525,000. The data provided by the Pew Research Center spans the period from 2017 to 2021.