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The changing face of immigration

While many immigrants in Arizona are from Central America and Mexico, according to the Department of Homeland Security, immigrants are crossing the Mexican border from other countries as well. While the majority of them are from Central America, officials say that a growing number are from India and China. From October 2015 through August 2016, officials took more than 8,000 people into custody from those countries and Nepal, Bangladesh and Romania.

In all, more than 408,000 people have been caught trying to cross the Mexican border illegally over the last year, but immigration by Mexican nationals has actually gone down. Deporting illegal Mexican immigrants is simpler and less expensive for the government. For immigrants from other countries, there is often a wait for a judge's decision or for travel documents to be prepared.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has the budget to house only 34,000 people, but the occupancy of immigration jails has grown to 40,000. Now the agency is looking at a potential budget shortfall of $130 million based on this trend. In some cases, the government is struggling to identify these illegal immigrants who, in some cases, travel to the United States through South American countries where visas are not required. The Mexican government detained around 11,000 people who said they were from Africa and Asia between January and August 2016.

U.S. immigration law changes rapidly, and people who are seeking a way to immigrate into the United States or who are facing deportation might want to speak with an attorney. They may be able to seek asylum if they are facing certain types of persecution in their own country. If they have family members in the United States or certain job skills, this may also be a way that they can remain in the country.

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