“Czechoslovakians” allegedly crossing US-Mexico border to illegally enter USA
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“Czechoslovakians” allegedly crossing US-Mexico border to illegally enter USA

“’We’ve found prayer rugs out here. It’s unreal,’” US President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday, quoting an unnamed border rancher.

“People coming across the Southern Border from many countries, some of which would be a big surprise.”

Most surprising of all, perhaps, would be those people crossing the southern border from countries that don’t even exist. Unreal indeed.

Czechoslovakia, of course, hasn’t been a country since the Czech Republic and Slovakia split more than 25 years ago.

But that hasn’t prevented its citizens from breaching the US border through Mexico, according to the source in the Washington Examiner story quoted by Trump.

According to the unidentified source, Czechoslovakians belong to a select group of foreigners referred to by United State Border Patrol as “OTMs”. That’s ‘Other-Than-Mexicans’ in common parlance.

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“The percentage of what border patrol classifies as ‘OTMs’ has really increased in the last couple years but drastically even in the last six months,” the source told the Washington Examiner in a video posted to YouTube.

“Chinese, Germans, Russians, a lot of Middle-Easterners… those Czechoslovakians, they caught ‘em around our neighbor just last summer.”

Coincidentally, perhaps, the OTMs are all from countries with tense US relations. China, Russia, and Germany, whose stance on immigration may differ slightly than the US.

And then poor, forgotten Czechoslovakia.

It’s easier, of course, for citizens of the Czech Republic to apply online for an ESTA, a relatively painless process that allows for visa-free travel to the United States.

But when you’re coming from a country that doesn’t even exist, the options are apparently more limited.

Lucas Němec

Prague-based author with two decades experience living in and writing about the Czech Republic for local and international sites and publications. Nakládaný hermelín enthusiast and frequent Club-Mate drinker.

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