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‘Donkey Flights’ Bring Indians to America

Compiled/ partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/ partly written by Melvin Durai
February 2024
‘Donkey Flights’ Bring Indians to America

Shah Rukh Khan’s latest film, Dunki, is based on the “donkey flights” or “donkey routes” that desperate people take to enter a country illegally. The treacherous routes often go through several countries and involve large payments to human smugglers.

French authorities recently intercepted a chartered Airbus A340 that was flying from Dubai to Nicaragua carrying about 300 people, mostly Indians, who planned to make their way through Central America into the United States. According to a report in The Wire, 27 passengers applied for political asylum in France, where the plane had stopped to refuel, and the remaining 276 were returned to India.

The passengers had paid between Rs. 60 and 80 lakhs to take a donkey route, a journey that takes at least a month to complete. An anonymous travel agent told The Wire that b2udget hotels in Qatar and Dubai are filled with Indians and Pakistanis waiting to take donkey flights.

“Gullible youngsters not only pay for their U.S. 2donkey expenses, but also for their stay in the hotels for months, and then end up paying a big amount for their overstay in these countries,” the agent said. “The youngsters reach the Middle East on a month-long tourist visa. Once the visa is over, they are charged fines per day.”

The Pew Research Center estimated recently that the United States has about 725,000 undocumented immigrants from India. Only Mexico and El Salvador have a higher representation.

More of ChaiTime here: 


Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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