All five undocumented immigrants from Gujarat intend to seek asylum in the US
Five undocumented immigrants from Gujarat, who were arrested near US-Canada border earlier this month, await court decision on their legal status in the US, media relations department of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed. “The individuals are in detention awaiting their court appearances,” CBP told The American Bazaar in an e-mail.
The group had entered the United States illegally via US-Canada border near Molson, Washington, on February 8.
The immigrants told the judge during their bail hearing that they intended to file for asylum in the US, The Spokesman-Review reported. Immigration attorney Steve Hormel is representing the group in the court.
Hormel said that he did not know the details of their claim on asylum, the news report read. If the immigration judge approves their claim for asylum, all five will be allowed to remain in the US and given a path to permanent residency. If their claim is denied, they could be charged with illegally entering the US, a petty offense, according to the report.
James Frackelton, spokesperson for the Border Patrol Spokane Sector told The Spokesman-Review that, typically, illegal immigrants cross the border on foot and meet with someone at a pre-arranged location who drives them into the country.
The Canadian national who picked the group near Molson, Washington, and drove them to Oroville, has been identified as Mohammed Khan, The Spokesman-Review reported. Khan had entered the United States the day before under the pretense of visiting residents and lied to the police at the US-Canada border. Khan is being charged with alien smuggling and would face deportation as a felon, if convicted.
According to the data published by the US Department of Homeland Security, the number of Indians applying for asylum in the US has spiked up in recent years. In 2012 a total of 346 people were granted asylum. This number rose to 490 in 2014.