Demand for Illegal Passage into the West Rises

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A man named Srikajamukan Chelliah was caught by the FBI on the charges of smuggling 1,750 people from different countries into the US. According to the US authorities, Chelliah charges his client $55,000 where immigrants are taken through the sea or by air from Haiti to Bahamas to South Florida. However, according to Chelliah, he denied taking any money from the immigrants.

According to Ralph Goodale, the Public Safety Minister, the demand for illegal passage has increased in the west and might be the reason why asylum seekers are walking across the US border.

Since there is no evidence of this yet, no serious action can be taken. These illegal immigrants are caught through some discrepancies in the passport, which shows that some kind of planning has been going on for a year.

There have been reports that people buy American visas in Saudi Arabia and Riyadh and then travel to the US. From there, they set cross into Quebec on foot to reach their destination: Canada. Since smuggling people into Canada is more risky and can cost more than ten thousand dollars.

According to a brief by Intelligence Operations and Analysis Branch, in order to fly into Canada, fraudulent documents can cost up to $35,000 and by sea up to $50,000. For Asian and African immigrants, crossing from Central and South America through Mexico into the US costs around $16,000.

No matter the case, Chelliah had lots of clients. Though a Canadian citizen, after the investigation it was revealed that Chelliah did not pay his taxes and owed $75,625 plus interest. Chelliah had two accomplices: Babu Dhamelia, who was a travel agent and a man named Iqbal Munawar. Munawar was arrested later in the day, whereas Dhamelia turned himself in.

The tip that alerted the FBI that human smuggling was taking place in the US was when an anonymous letter was sent to Mumbai’s American consulate. After being deported to Canada, Chelliah’s citizenship certificate and passport was seized. After he was released, he filed a case accusing Ottawa of not letting him go to his daughter in Jamaica.