EXCLUSIVE: 13K Chinese Migrants Apprehended on U.S.-Mexico Border Since October

Since the beginning of Fiscal Year 23 on October 1, 2022, Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border apprehended nearly 13,000 Chinese migrants. The number represents a more than 1,000 percent increase in migrants from the communist regime when compared to the previous year’s totals.

Nearly 13,000 migrants from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have been apprehended along the U.S. Southwest border with Mexico this fiscal year, according to a CBP source not authorized to speak to the media. Approximately 84 percent of the migrants from the PRC are single adults. After processing by the Border Patrol, most are released to pursue asylum claims in the United States.

The source says the agency is baffled by the increase as intelligence debriefings yield little information about the migrants and their purpose for entering. The language barrier is proving to be a challenge according to the source.

“Having to use third-party translation services, Border Patrol agents and intelligence officers who are already struggling to cope with thousands of migrant apprehensions daily, are getting limited intelligence information from the migrants,” the source told Breitbart Texas.

Breitbart Texas also spoke with Dr. Kenneth Allard, a retired Army Colonel and former Dean of Students at the National War College. As an author of several works including Warheads: Cable News and the Fog of War, a former intelligence officer, and special assistant to the Army Chief of Staff, Allard is also concerned with the lack of intelligence regarding the spike in migrant apprehension of citizens from the People’s Republic of China.

Allard says the fact may be that most of the migrants from the PRC are in fact dissidents fleeing poor conditions in China. But as an expert on totalitarian regimes, he believes the current administration lacks the willpower to properly investigate the phenomenon.

“Totalitarian governments like China are great exploiters of opportunity,” Dr. Allard told Breitbart. “They recognize weakness and capitalize on it immediately. What we are seeing reflects a deliberate policy choice by the regime.”

When asked about the potential for China to take advantage of the current crisis along the southern border, Allard says the regime most certainly recognizes the weakness President Biden has exhibited on the international stage, adding “its obvious he is not entirely in control at present, China realizes that as well.”

What little information that is retrieved from the migrants would indicate most are fleeing the repressive regime due to the aftereffects of the extreme COVID-19 lockdowns imposed by Xi Jinping’s government. Another reason cited by the migrants is the negative economic effects of China’s strict COVID-19 policies regarding the exportation and importation of goods.

Texas DPS troopers encounter a group of 20 Chinese migrants near Roma. (Texas Department of Public Safety)

Texas DPS troopers encounter a group of 20 Chinese migrants near Roma. (Texas Department of Public Safety)

Lacking definitive answers, some have speculated the opening of China’s ports after the COVID-19 lockdowns ended is a predominant factor in the exodus of Chinese nationals. An analysis of the timeline of significant world events, however, does not altogether align with the theory. It may be true that most of the migrants who form part of the increased number arriving at the border are in fact dissidents who are weary of the Chinese system of government, the PRC’s dismal record on human rights, or the harsh controls on the use of the internet and social media inside the regime, but with worsening relations between the United States and the government of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the exponential increase in arriving migrants from China should not be ignored.

China opened its ports and loosened travel restrictions for tourists in January 2023 after a three-year closure. That move was more than eight months after the first notable doubling of Chinese migrant arrivals along the southwest border. In April 2022, migrant apprehensions for nationals of the People’s Republic of China rose by nearly 100% from 74 apprehensions in March to 146. The number has continued to double almost every three months until reaching more than 1,000 apprehensions at the time of the re-opening of Chinese ports in January.

Despite the re-opening of its ports, China, through the Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, still exerts strict exit and entry controls that apply to all travelers including its own citizens.

RGV agents prepare to load a group of Chinese migrants onto a bus for processing. (U.S. Border Patrol/Rio Grande Valley Sector)

Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agents prepare to load a group of Chinese migrants onto a bus for processing. (U.S. Border Patrol/Rio Grande Valley Sector)

When further analyzing the timeline of significant events in relation to the notable increase in migrant flow from the PRC to the United States, several newsworthy occurrences were closer to the start of the increase than China’s border opening.

In February 2022, the Department of Justice announced the abandonment of the Trump-era China Initiative. Developed as a counter to Chinese national security threats, FBI Director Christopher Wray issued the following statement concerning the implementation of the initiative, “No country presents a broader, more severe threat to our ideas, our innovation, and our economic security than China.”

The agreement faced criticism of anti-Asian bias and, when announcing the departure from the initiative, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the DOJ’s National Security Division stated:

To be clear, we are focused on the actions of the PRC government, the Chinese Communist Party, and their agents — not the Chinese people or those of Chinese descent. As we talk about the threats that the PRC government poses to the United States, we must never lose sight of that fundamental distinction. We must always be vigilant to ensure that no one is treated differently based on race, ethnicity, familial ties, or national origin. This is a foundational commitment of the Department of Justice.

In the announcement, Olsen pledged to maintain a vigilant watch over actions carried out on behalf of the PRC that could negatively impact national security. Within two months, the initial doubling of migrant apprehensions from the PRC appeared at the southwest border.

In August 2022, a visit to Taiwan by then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sparked outrage and swift condemnation from Beijing. The visit was viewed as an escalation towards China due to Pelosi’s high rank within the US Government. Soon afterward, China announced it would halt cooperation with the United States regarding anti-narcotics, climate change, and a host of other issues. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a chilling warning in response to the visit stating, “These moves, like playing with fire, are extremely dangerous. Those who play with fire will perish by it.”

Within a month of the visit, migrant apprehensions along the southwest border had risen by nearly 432% from 74 apprehensions in the March 2022 baseline to 392 in September.

Border Patrol agents apprehended a large group of mostly Chinese migrants. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Border Patrol agents apprehended a large group of mostly Chinese migrants. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

By January 2023, when China opened its ports of entry after three years of COVID-19 closure, the Border Patrol’s migrant apprehensions of Chinese nationals had risen to 1,076 — an increase of more than 1,300 percent over the baseline of 74 in March 2022.

The January apprehension numbers would soon double once again, coinciding with the Chinese Spy Balloon incident that occurred in late January and concluded on February 4, 2023, when the Pentagon destroyed the craft over water off the coast of South Carolina. Again, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quick to condemn the United States for its actions regarding the incident.

“China strongly disapproves of and protests the US attack on a civilian unmanned airship by force,” officials stated. “The Chinese side has, after verification, repeatedly informed the (U.S.) side of the civilian nature of the airship and conveyed that its entry into the (U.S.) due to force majeure was totally unexpected.”

One news report alleges the balloon was able to gather sensitive military intelligence as it traversed the country. The report cited three unnamed U.S. government officials who alleged the balloon was able to fly controlled patterns as it gathered electronic signals.

By March, less than 60 days after the incident, a spike in migrant arrivals from the PRC occurred jumping from 1,076 in January to 2,265 — an increase of more than 100 percent.

By April, an additional increase of 41 percent in PRC migrant apprehensions along the Southwest border brought the total monthly apprehensions to 3,195, according to Customs and Border Protection reports.

The travel route for most Chinese migrants is costly and arduous, according to the CBP source. The journey to the United States in most cases involves traveling from Hong Kong to Turkey and on to Ecuador. Ecuador is a common point along the route as Chinese nationals are not required to possess a visa to enter the Latin American country.

The migrants, according to the source, move through Panama’s Darien Gap before traversing through Central America, into Mexico, and on to the United States’ southern border. As reported by Breitbart Texas, the smuggling fees have been revealed to be as high as $55,000 to reach the U.S./Mexico Border from the People’s Republic of China.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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