Chinese illegal immigration on pace to break records at US southern border

Officials, lawmakers raise national security concerns about spike in Chinese nationals

A dramatic increase in Chinese illegal immigration is on track to break records at the southern border, with apprehensions from the communist country in one sector alone already eclipsing fiscal 2021 in just a few days.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources tell Fox News that between Saturday and Monday there were 452 Chinese nationals apprehended by Border Patrol in the San Diego Sector alone.

That’s more than the 450 apprehended in fiscal 2021 altogether across the entire southwest border.

The number of Chinese nationals has been increasing since fiscal 2021. In fiscal 2022, numbers increased to more than 2,000 border-wide. In fiscal 2023, that number then surged to more than 24,314.


Chinese migrants border

Chinese migrants attempting to cross into the U.S. from Mexico are detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the border on Nov. 11, 2023, in Jacumba, California. (Nick Ut)

So far in fiscal 2024, which began in October, there have been more than 18,750 encounters by the end of January, meaning that the fiscal year is already on track to exceed last year’s numbers. There were nearly 6,000 encounters in December alone.

The increase in migration from China is an indicator of how global the U.S. border crisis has become. Officials previously said they have encountered migrants from more than 150 countries. Fox News witnessed migrants from countries including Brazil, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador and China crossing into the U.S. at San Diego this week.

Chinese nationals have quickly become the fastest-growing demographic entering the country illegally. Some officials and Republican lawmakers have raised concerns that single adults entering from the geopolitical rival could pose a national security threat.

Chinese migrants speak to a Border Patrol officer before being processed after they crossed the Rio Grande into the U.S. on May 5, 2022, in Roma, Texas. (Brandon Bell)

Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents all rank-and-file Border Patrol agents nationwide, told Fox News last week that the majority of the Chinese border crossers are single adult males of military age.


"That is a very scary prospect. We know that China does not like us, we know that we are in the crosshairs of China," Judd said.

"And they are exporting so many people to our country, and you have to really fear about that."

"There have been numerous documented instances of Chinese nationals, at the direction of the CCP, engaging in espionage, stealing military and economic secrets," a group of Republican senators warned last year.

Hundreds of migrants, predominantly from Venezuela, cross the Rio Grande on Dec. 5, 2023. (David Peinado/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The Republican-held House impeached DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his handling of the migrant crisis. The articles of impeachment now go to the Senate for a trial.

Overall, there have been more than 961,000 migrant encounters this fiscal year after a record-setting 2.4 million in fiscal 2023. December saw a record 301,000 encounters, followed by a sharp drop to 176,000 in January.

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