Bijaya Ghimire, COLORADO: Illegal immigration to the United States of America through Mexico has triggered heated national debate in the US these days.
Republican frontrunner and business tycoon Donald Trump, in his campaign, had earlier said that a ten feet tall wall should be erected along the border with Mexico to stop illegal immigrants from entering America. Trump has clearly stood against immigration, and commented harshly against illegal immigrants during the Republican primaries.
The Democratic Party also does not seem very liberal towards illegal immigrants. The US Administration deported record number of illegal immigrants, which is a testimony that the Democrats too remain not that liberal towards the illegal immigrants.
A data of the Homeland Security shows over 4 hundred thousand illegal immigrants entering the US were deported to their respective countries in 2014.
But, the long and dangerous march from Nepal to the US without passport has not stopped.
This week alone, the Embassy of Nepal in Malaysia rescued some Nepalis from an island near the Philippines who were en route to the USA by illegal means. The Nepali immigrants are being arrested from several Central American countries as well, and some of them are still languishing in jails.
The long and dangerous journey begins from Nepal itself when Nepali brokers lure Nepali aspirants of sending them easily into America as the latter give thousands of rupees to the brokers.
They spend tens of thousands of rupees on their illegal way. Some are lucky and make it to their dream destination but some have to return half way after being arrested.
Life becomes risky when they make several illegal attempts to the USA.
Even though they enter into the US by some means, problems are not solved.
It will take some two to three years and one has to spend up to ten thousand dollars to stay in the US legally.
Possibility of severe labor exploitation for those will also be on the rise who have to work without work permit.
Even if all goes well and they get jobs, it will take almost four years to reimburse the money they spend.
The immigrants miss family and home, and most of them are not used to working hard. When life becomes too tough for them, they regret: “Why did we come in the first place?”
A few years ago, an illegal Nepali immigrant from Dang, Nepal, committed suicide as he had developed depression since he could not fulfill his dream by coming to America.
Nepali legal practitioners in the US say that several such Nepali illegal immigrants are in the US jail.
Here is a story of Nepali illegal immigrant who entered into the US from Mexico having traveled in inhumane conditions in different countries.
Shyam (Name changed) is attending a legal case at an immigration court.
He made it to the US a year ago by illegal means having taken very dangerous and risky journey.
His aim to make it to the US came true but he now has realized that he cannot pay the loan he took in the village to come to the US, and it is near impossible for his family to reunite.
To a question, how many Nepalis he met across the border, he said there were many and went on saying several human smugglers are engaged in the occupation.
He described the pathetic situation he faced since the start of the journey to the South American nations.
He also recalled the Maoist insurgency and said this was one of the several reasons that forced him and like ones to face the grave situation.
He said he arrived in Texas by crossing a river in a rubber tube and was detained by the Border force when he had just spent five minutes in the US soil.
He spent three days with his damp clothes in the Texas jail room fitted with air cooler.
Only after three days, he was given the prison dress and some food to eat.
The Nepali broker took 230 thousand rupees from him which he had managed from loan.
He said he flew to New Delhi from Nepal and then to Peru and traveled through half a dozen South and Central American countries when he finally got caught in Texas.
He spoke of Colombia, Panama and Guatemala ordeals where traffickers asked his to throw his passport and other nasty developments.
It took him six long months and more than 300 million rupees to enter into the US, that too, illegally.
There was no food, no drinking water, and no sleep on the way, and he had to walk miles in the rugged terrain and deserts– one trafficker handing over the group of hopeful migrants to the other at several places.
From Guatemala, Shyam further described that he along with some other Asian hopefuls crossed to Mexico in a tight container.
After spending days in Texas, Shyam said he was repositioned to a new detention center in another state.
The court there ordered for his release on a bail amount of $2,500 after some days.
Shyam now works at a gas station where he gets his wage on hourly basis.
Shyam is merely an example of the horrific human trafficking…
Hundreds of other Nepalis are facing similar situations and the number is increasing.
Nepali Embassy in the United States does not know the exact data of Nepali immigrants entering the US illegally from the US-Mexico border.
An official at the Nepali Embassy said US officials bring to the Embassy only those who are to be deported.
He said the embassy does not know how many Nepalis are in the US prisons.
The embassy official even said that different power centers back in Nepal apply pressure on the Embassy not to give the required documents that are asked by the concerned US government for the possible deportation of the detained Nepalis.
The embassy official said the Nepalis who are in detention and come to collect their passport never reveal the name of the broker through which they came to the US, when asked by the embassy.
Some estimate that the number of Nepalis detained in the US prisons could go as high as one thousand.
Experts say that not only the male immigrant hopefuls, girls are also entering to the US via Mexico by risking their lives on their way.
When the US government floated the scheme of TPS-Temporary Protected Status after the April 22 quake last year, several individual and associations spread the rumor that they can officially send the quake affected people to the US.
This prompted the US Embassy in Kathmandu to issue a public statement officially denouncing and condemning the move of the individuals and associations.
With the rise in the number of illegal immigrants through human traffickers, the US government has placed Nepal also as the source of human trafficking.
Neither the illegally entered Nepalis in America can return home nor can they feel happy with their work. They don’t know what their future would be, and their faces tell the story at length.
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