Tracing the ‘donkey route’: How thousands of Indians risk lives each year in pursuit of ‘American dream’ | India News – Times of India

 Tracing the 'donkey route': How thousands of Indians risk lives each year in pursuit of 'American dream' | India News - Times of India

New Delhi: A flight carrying over 300 Indians, originally bound for Nicaragua, returned to India on Tuesday after being stranded in France for four days on suspicion of “human trafficking”.
Donkey flightFrench authorities were stopped at Chalon-Vitry airport after receiving an anonymous tip that the plane was carrying illegal immigrants from India.
The Nicaragua link has raised eyebrows as asylum seekers in the United States have increased by people from the Central American nation.

Airbus A340 lands in Mumbai with 303 Indians in France

The strange timing of this incident can hardly be ignored as it coincided with the release of Shah Rukh Khan starrer Dinky.
A comedy-drama releasing on December 21.Donkey’s WayImmigration is used to enter countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.
So, what is the “donkey path”?
The term “donkey path” is derived from the Punjabi word “dinki”, which means to move from one place to another.
This usually involves illegal border crossings through indirect routes with multiple stops in different countries.
For example, individuals can obtain a tourist visa for the EU’s Schengen area, which would allow free movement in 26 countries, and then use “consultants” or “agents” to travel illegally. Can enter UK.
These agents often charge hefty fees for services ranging from forging documents to smuggling through shipping containers.
Every year, thousands of Indians try to enter the US, Canada or European countries through these methods, despite putting their lives in grave danger.
According to US Customs and Border Protection (UCBP) data, a record 96,917 Indians were apprehended illegally entering the US between October 2022 and September 2023.
This figure comes despite the tragic loss of life during such incursions in recent years, particularly through dangerous routes. Of the 96,917 Indians, 30,010 were captured at the Canadian border and 41,770 at the border with Mexico.
Tracing the ‘Donkey Path’
The ‘donkey route’ reportedly begins by reaching a Latin American country like Ecuador, Bolivia or Guyana, where Indian nationals can easily get visas on arrival or tourist visas. Some agents also arrange visas directly from Dubai to Mexico. However, landing directly in Mexico is considered more dangerous, as local authorities can arrest migrants on sight.
From Latin America, most agents take their clients to Colombia, which is near the U.S. border with Panama. Migrants from Colombia enter Panama through the dangerous Darien Gap, which separates Colombia and Panama. This forest has no roads or bridges and is home to wild animals such as jaguars and anacondas. Migrants also face robbery and rape at the hands of criminal gangs in the region.
If all goes well, the journey through the jungles and mountains of Panama takes eight to ten days. Migrants then enter Costa Rica and Nicaragua before reaching Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. From there, they must cross Guatemala’s northern border with Honduras before reaching El Salvador’s southern border with Guatemala.
From El Salvador’s southern border with Guatemala, they have to re-enter Honduras before reaching Nicaragua’s northern border with Honduras, before re-entering Costa Rica, before re-entering Panama, before reaching Colombia, before re-entering Ecuador. .
The entire process can take up to two years or more depending on various factors such as weather conditions, political conditions, human trafficking networks, etc.
A longstanding problem
The practice of “donkey flights” has been a constant and ongoing concern. Human traffickers are chartering planes to transport illegal immigrants to Nicaragua, where offshore handlers facilitate their entry into the United States through the Mexican border.
Smugglers present these flights as flights carrying tourists from India. However, these flights came under the radar of law enforcement agencies because they only traveled one-way. Planes bound for Nicaragua never returned with passengers, indicating that something was amiss.
Police and agency sources said the ringleader in the case of the plane that grounded in France, Hyderabad-based Shashi Karan Reddy, had been arranging regular flights to Nicaragua for refueling, which was 150 km from Paris. Stopped at the airport.
Explaining Reddy’s procedure, the source said that once the flight arrives in Nicaragua, the illegal immigrants will either travel 3,100 kilometers by road to Mexico or take a boat trip to Miami via Cancun and Havana. will do
Sources in central agencies and the Gujarat Police said that although many Indians are apprehended in the US every year, very few are deported as some get asylum there on humanitarian grounds.

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