(NewsNation) — Officials at the southern border have reported a significant rise in the number of Chinese migrants attempting to enter the United States illegally, with more than 4,000 apprehended since January.
The San Diego sector, in particular, has witnessed a startling surge, with hundreds of Chinese migrants being detained daily. Among the hotspots is Hot Springs, California, where Border Patrol agents are grappling with the influx.
According to sources in Mexico, these migrants are flying into Tijuana Airport before being guided by smugglers to breach the border, often through gaps in the existing wall. Just days ago, around 120 miles from Hot Springs, a group of Chinese migrants was intercepted in Indio, California, carrying fake Pennsylvania driver’s licenses and thousands of gift cards.
The spike in Chinese migrants seeking asylum in the US comes amidst tightening visa restrictions for Chinese nationals. While the U.S. issued 2.2 million temporary visas in 2016, that number dwindled to just 160,000 by 2022.
Meanwhile, Mexican authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of illegal crossings, with reports of military operations along the border. This marks the first time such a presence has been observed in the Hot Springs area.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott‘s intensified border security measures have also contributed to the shifting dynamics, according to sources in Mexico. With Chinese migrants reportedly willing to pay cartels up to $35,000 for smuggling services, officials anticipate a continued rise in migrant traffic.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has pointed to congressional inaction as exacerbating the border situation, emphasizing the need for legislative solutions.
“We don’t bear responsibility for a broken system. And we’re dealing a tremendous amount within that broken system. But fundamentally, Congress is the only one who can fix it,” he said.
According to the Department of Justice, more than 50% of Chinese asylum applications were granted asylum in FY 2023, compared with the 14% average across all nationalities.
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Author: Jorge Ventura