Posted: Jan 4, 2013 5:18 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2013 7:36 PM
BROWNSVILLE - The Ozanam Center in Brownsville is experiencing a spike in the number of immigrants from countries other than Mexico, center officials said.
Many of those immigrants are seeking political asylum, Ozanam Center Inc. Director Victor Maldonado said.
Tauhidul Mazumder is one of those immigrants. He arrived in the Rio Grande Valley from Sri Lanka. He was smuggled into the United States trough Reynosa.
"I paid them $2,000 and we crossed the border. I don't know how I crossed the border. We were in a car and the next time we were in McAllen," Mazumder said.
Once in the United States, he filed for political asylum. He said he was threatened in his homeland and fears he will be killed if he is sent back.
"I talked to a lawyer and they got me here," he said
Mazumder said the lawyer told him the Ozanam Center could give him refuge free of charge for a month.
Maldonado said he has seen an increase in immigrants like Mazumder.
"The shelter has always taken individuals from everywhere in the world, but we have seen that trend from that part of the world. Now we are seeing more and more," Maldonado said.
Immigration attorneys are sending the foreigners to the center, Maldonado said.
"Many of the individuals that are coming here are educated. They do know English, limited English, but we are able to communicate. We try to assist them and help them if we can with an attorney or someone who can help them," Maldonado said.