HomeNewsAnalysisIndians Captured at U.S.-Mex Border Expose New Human 'Pipeline'
ANALYSIS

Indians Captured at U.S.-Mex Border Expose New Human 'Pipeline'

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 7 FEB 2011 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

In a phenomenon that has United States border officials scratching their heads, a record wave of immigrants from India have entered the country illegally through Mexico in the past year. Thousands of Indians now take the trip annually, making them the second most common ethnic group of immigrants, after Latinos, to be detained at the border.

According to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times published 6 Feb, the trend is showing signs of increasing. In all of 2009, only 99 Indian immigrants were detained along the southwest border. However, in the last three months of 2010, the Border Patrol arrested more than 650 in southern Texas alone.

The immigrants generally make their way to the U.S. through complex networks, called “pipelines,” of human smuggling contacts in Latin America. Although many of them fly into South American countries like Ecuador and Venezuela, most of the chains base their operations in Guatemala. From there, they cross the dangerous border into Mexico, and are led to northern states, where they pay organized criminal groups to help them cross the U.S. border.

Kumar Kibble, deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told the Times that these human smuggling pipelines are a worrisome phenomenon. Because of the proximity of India to Pakistan, the site of anti-American armed organizations, the U.S. is concerned that these networks could be used to carry out attacks on American soil.

"We do want to monitor these pipelines and shut them down, because it is a vulnerability,” said Kibble. “They could either knowingly or unknowingly smuggle people into the U.S. that pose a national security threat."

Partly because of its role in harboring these networks, Guatemala has launched a series of operations against human smuggling rings in the country.  Last November, the Guatemalan daily elPeriodico reported that officials there had arrested a man who provided fake U.S. passports to Indian migrants seeking to head northward.

The man was allegedly part of a network that charged $66,500 to sneak people into the United States or Canada. Police initially discovered the network after encountering a group of Indians in the province of Retalhuleu who said they had escaped from a nearby house where they were being held captive against their will.

This case reflects the complexities of migration and human trafficking. Although the relationship between the potential migrant and the operators of trafficking rings can be one between a client and service provider, it is just as often marked by exploitation and abuse. Instead of assisting migrants, human smugglers frequently undertake mass kidnappings, and have been known to kill one or two from these group as an intimidation tactic, frightening the rest into contacting relatives to meet ransom demands. According to Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, nearly 10,000 migrants are kidnapped a year by gangs in such incidents.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 7 MAY 2021

The cat-and-mouse game of evading law enforcement was taken literally by drug smugglers recently in Panama, who hid cocaine on…

FENTANYL / 22 OCT 2021

Fentanyl continues to wreak havoc on both sides of the US-Mexico border, as Mexican security forces continue to seize the…

JALISCO CARTEL / 11 JUL 2022

Despite Mexico ranking as the second-most devout Catholic country on the planet, clerics have found no salvation from extortion, beatings…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…