New York, Aug 28: Two Indian nationals were among 19 people arrested by the US border patrol officials in California for entering the country illegally by boat from Mexico.
The US Border Patrol agents working in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) law enforcement partners, arrested 19 people yesterday, a press release from the US Customs and Border Protection said.
Late Sunday night, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) aircraft spotted a panga-style vessel enter US territorial waters from Mexico with multiple people on board. The AMO notified the US Coast Guard and they interdicted the panga approximately 24 kilometres west of Point Loma, California.
A total of 19 people were intercepted, of which two were identified as suspected smugglers. The other 17 were passengers illegally present in the US.
All 19 male illegal aliens were arrested and taken to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing. Agents determined that two of the passengers were Indian nationals, while all others were Mexican nationals, the release said. It did not give any details of the two Indian nationals.
The suspected smugglers are in the DHS custody and may face human smuggling charges. Since 2013, the US has admitted more than half a million illegal immigrant minors and family units from Central America, most of whom today are at large in the US.
The DHS considers a person "inadmissible" when they appear at a port of entry without proper documentation for legal entry into the US. Those apprehended are individuals "caught trying to enter illegally between ports of entry."
In order to protect the US national security, President Donald Trump introduced a controversial 'zero-tolerance policy' for people that enter the country illegally. Under this, the US prosecuted anyone trying to enter the country illegally, including asylum seekers.
Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents, with the adults being shipped to jails and children placed in the custody the Office of Refugee Resettlement between April 19 and May 31 of this year. The controversial decision, however, had been reversed by Trump through an executive order following widespread protests against the move.