The Trump administration on Monday warned the US that it faces a “massive” influx of South Asian migrants heading to the US in coming years, citing the region’s massive migrant influx.
Trump’s remarks come as US immigration officials have been accused of “torturing” migrants at sea and sending them back to their home countries.
The administration’s top immigration official said the US faces a massive migrant flow in coming decades, citing South Asia as one of the countries it is “deeply concerned” about.
“The vast majority of our country’s border crossings are with South Asia, and we are deeply concerned that this is the case,” Acting USCIS Director Sarah Nance told a Senate committee.
“Our country’s porous borders have been a significant factor in allowing thousands of migrants from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other regions of the world to enter our country without authorization, and that is something we cannot afford to let happen.”
Trump has been repeatedly critical of the migrant influx, saying it’s a “crisis” and “a disaster” and that it’s “the biggest crime wave in American history”.
He has also vowed to deport all of those living in the US illegally.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was told that Trump’s administration had warned that many of the migrants are coming to the United States “with criminal convictions or otherwise serious criminal records”.
“We are concerned that these people are coming with criminal convictions, with drug convictions, that they’re coming with serious mental health problems, that some of these people may be dangerous and violent,” Nance said.
“And we’re going to have to take them into custody.”
Trump’s comments come as his administration has been accused by US lawmakers of violating the rights of thousands of people seeking asylum by detaining them for weeks and sending thousands back to countries where they face persecution.
At least 10 people have died at sea since Trump’s inauguration, and at least 3,600 are stranded at sea in countries such as Cambodia, the Philippines, Vietnam and China, according to the International Organization for Migration.US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been under intense scrutiny for its use of mass detentions at the border with Mexico and in border areas, including in Central America, and for its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.
Trump has repeatedly vowed to build a wall along the southern border, and has promised to deport more migrants than any president in US history.
But ICE officials said that they have stopped the deportation of tens of thousands, including many migrants, who had entered the country without a visa or other documentation.