New Delhi: The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said on Friday said that the number of Indians arrested for entering the country had tripled this year. CBP spokesman Salvador Zamora said that a large number of Indians were allegedly crossing the US-Mexico border and claiming asylum for persecution.

Amount ranging between USD 25,000 to USD 50,000 per person is paid to the smuggling rings, said the US CBP. As per media reports, Zamora said that a large number of economic migrants with fraudulent petitions may keep away.

Meanwhile, the Indian embassy in Washington and the Indian consulate in San Francisco did not respond. Around 4,000 Indians who entered the United States illegally this year, did so over a three-mile stretch of border fence at Mexicali. “The word got out that Mexicali is a safe border city which favours their crossing into the United States,” Zamora said.

After Mexicans, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador citizens were most likely to enter the United States illegally in 2018, according to Border Patrol data. Indians still have some way to go to outnumber the roughly 30,000 El Salvadorans who entered the United States illegally in 2018, the data showed.

After being held in the United States, Indians are often bonded out of detention by human trafficking rings, Zamora said. They then enter indentured servitude in businesses ranging from hotels to convenience stores to pay off smuggling debts and bond fees.