Record number of Turkish migrants cross into US from Mexico in 2022

Record number of Turkish migrants cross into US from Mexico in 2022
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The number of crossings by Turkish migrants across the Mexican-US border has increased by more than six-fold in 2022 compared to the previous year.

The number of Turkish migrants who crossed the Mexican border into the United States has reached record levels in 2022, Voice of America (VOA) Turkish said, citing official figures of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

While a majority of the migrants who make legal or illegal crossing attempts through the US-Mexican border consists of Latin American countries' citizens, the number of Turkish citizens that crossed into the US jumped to an astounding 31,485 last year from 4,989 the previous year, and 1,944 in 2020.

Those who have been taken into custody upon their capture after crossings are subsequently placed in detention centers in Arizona and Texas, VOA Turkish said, adding that a vast majority of them file applications to be admitted into the country as refugees, and the ones who have been offered "sponsorship" by a US citizen are released within a period of up to one and a half month.

Can Kamiloglu of VOA Turkish noted that the Turkish citizens usually apply for asylum in the US citing discrimination in their home country because of political or religious issues, or because of their choice of gender.

A US expert, who started giving university lectures after having resigned from a post in CBP and who spoke to VOA Turkish on condition of anonymity, said:

"In the last few years we are witnessing an unprecedented mobility of Turkish nationals along the border. The number of Turkish citizens who cross into the US from Mexico has increased on a monthly basis. Their profiles show that there are many white collars among them, including doctors, engineers and lawyers. The average amount of money paid by a Turkish citizen for crossing into the US can rise up to $10,000, including fees paid to middlemen. Once they have been placed in a detention center, these people step into a new phase involving a search for a sponsor. Somebody has to sponsor them in order that they may be released. The Turkish citizens have apparently set up their own mechanisms to find sponsors, and there are organized criminal gangs who operate to find the sponsors. They provide a sponsor in return for a fee of $3,000 to $5,000, and have the Turkish citizen released."

Photo credit: Josh Denmark, US Customs and Border Protection