Four Indians, including infant, found frozen to death at Canada-US border

The festering migrant crisis on America's borders came home to India when a family of four Indian nationals, including an infant, were found frozen to death along the US-Canada border in what authorities believe was a failed crossing attempt during a blizzard

Jan 22, 2022
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Festering migrant crisis on America's borders( Photo: Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

The festering migrant crisis on America's borders came home to India when a family of four Indian nationals, including an infant, were found frozen to death along the US-Canada border in what authorities believe was a failed crossing attempt during a blizzard. Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday expressed shock at the news has instructed the Indian ambassadors in the US and Canada to urgently respond to the situation.

The Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on Thursday said that the bodies of four people -- two adults, a teen and an infant -- were found on the Canadian side of the US-Canada border near Emerson on Wednesday. The four are said to be victims of a widespread human smuggling racket. 

“Shocked by the report that 4 Indian nationals, including an infant, have lost their lives at the Canada-US border. Have asked our Ambassadors in the US and Canada to urgently respond to the situation,” Jaishankar tweeted.

Jaishankar spoke to India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu and India's High Commissioner in Canada Ajay Bisaria. 

According to court documents, US Border Patrol officials in North Dakota stopped a 15-passenger van just south of the Canadian border on Wednesday. The driver of the van was identified as 47-year-old Steve Shand of Florida, who had been arrested and charged with human smuggling in connection with the incident.

Law enforcement officials have also determined that there were two undocumented Indian nationals, the Department of Justice said. As they were taking the trio back to the border patrol station in North Dakota, officers came across another group of five Indian nationals walking. They told them that they had walked across the border and expected to be picked up by someone, PTI news agency reported. 

The group said they estimated they had been walking for more than 11 hours. One of the group members was carrying a backpack that did not belong to him. He told authorities that he was carrying the backpack for a family of four Indian nationals that had earlier walked with his group but got separated at night.

The backpack contained children's clothes, a diaper, toys, and some children's medication.

According to court documents, on January 19, the USBP received a report from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that four bodies were found frozen just inside the Canadian side of the international border.

The dead bodies were tentatively identified as the family of four that got separated. Two of the surviving Indian nationals sustained serious injuries and were transported to a hospital.

Indians top the number of undocumented immigrants in the US, with about half a million people or 4 per cent of the total. (SAM)

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