Federal authorities recently unraveled an extensive plot to illegally smuggle non-citizens from India into America across the northern border by sending the individuals in Ubers. According to investigators, Rajinder Pal Singh created at least 17 accounts to facilitate his operations, with some accounts showing a ride history in excess of 90 trips.
As a result, Singh has been arrested and now faces up to a decade in prison. However, Singh is far from the only individual involved in the illicit human smuggling efforts. While most Americans are rightfully concerned about their insecure southern border with Mexico, very few are aware of how vulnerable their northern border is as well.
According to investigators, illegal immigrants are paying between $30,000 and $70,000 to crime syndicates for a combination of travel arrangements and fake documentation. Upon making the hefty payment, migrants are then picked up near the Canadian border and transported via Uber to a variety of American cities, where they are transferred to other Ubers and taken to their ultimate destination.
To quote an affidavit from the case, “Based on records provided by Uber, law enforcement’s knowledge of this investigation, and the patterns identified herein, investigators believe that members of the organization are splitting trips to obscure the origin of the trip, i.e., the international border, and to provide a potential lack of knowledge defense relating to the immigration status and/or manner of entry of the noncitizens that the organization is smuggling.”
It should be noted that the U.S. border with Canada is approximately three times larger than the U.S. border with Mexico, but exponentially less border agents are placed in the north due to fewer confirmed crossings. According to Todd Bensman, a national security expert at the Center for Immigration Studies, “You’re always going to have all that wooded forestland and lakes, and there’s no wall or anything like that, and there’s no Border Patrol out there. There’s like one guy for 10,000 acres. There’s no roads or anything. That’s a really tough proposition.”
The northern border is clearly the entry point of choice for most illegal Asian migrants, with 40% of Indians, 80% of Chinese, and 99% of Filipinos choosing to go through the U.S.-Canada border last year as opposed to the U.S.-Mexico border.