A US Border Patrol chief has warned that his agents are being overwhelmed by the flood of Chinese migrants crossing the border illegally and that they could be missing Communist spies, DailyMail.com can reveal.
More than 24,000 Chinese migrants crossed US borders illegally in fiscal year 2023, compared to around 2,000 in 2022 and just 342 in 2021 – making them the fastest growing demographic of illegal entries.
Some have been found to have links with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated People’s Liberation Army (PLA), but border chiefs are concerned more could be slipping through their grasp.
Chief Patrol Agent Anthony Good, of the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, told the Homeland Security Committee during a private hearing in September last year that his agents were ‘trying their best to figure out why [individuals from other continents are] coming’ but that ‘information can be hidden’ and ‘their agendas, their ideologies, the reason for them coming could be missed’.
Gloria Chavez, chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, also told the Committee in June that the massive surge in Chinese migrants had forced her agents to enlist a translation service, with each Chinese national taking up to seven hours to interview.
The high success rate of Chinese asylum claims is a long-standing trend, but it has come under the spotlight following a spike in illegal crossings by Chinese migrants last year
The interviews were shared with DailyMail.com by the committee.
Its chair, Mark Green, said the surge in Chinese migrants was a ‘massive’ national security concern.
He said agents were being ‘overwhelmed’, with many Chinese nationals being ‘released into the interior with little consideration for their country of origin’.
Green blamed Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas for making it ‘clear to the entire world that our borders are open’.
He added: ‘While it is true that some individuals may be seeking relief from authoritarian regimes, there is no way for our brave men and women on the frontlines of this crisis to adequately vet all of them before being effectively forced to release them—particularly when countries like China won’t allow us access to their various law enforcement databases.
‘My Committee has been informed that some of these Chinese nationals have even been found to be affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—and those are just the ones we’ve been able to vet.
‘As the CCP works to undermine and infiltrate our institutions and even military installations, Secretary Mayorkas has made it clear to the entire world that our borders are open.
‘This is simply unsustainable, and the national security risks are massive.’
The surprise explosion in crossings by Chinese migrants has sparked fevered speculation over why so many are suddenly making the arduous journey from East Asia, with some commentators suggesting Beijing may be smuggling in some as spies.
But immigration experts have said they thought it unlikely that the CCP would send in agents in this manner, suggesting Xi Jinping would prefer a more direct route using work visas – as has been the case in the past.
Links to the CCP and PLA are common among Chinese citizens and does not necessarily mean they are operating as spies.
Meanwhile, startling US government data has revealed that more illegal Chinese migrants were granted asylum in the over the past three years than any other nationality, raising concerns that more will be encouraged to follow.
More successful asylum claims in the US are made by Chinese migrants than any other nationality, according to government data
Chinese nationals also have the third highest success rate when it comes to US asylum claims
In 2022, Chinese nationals accounted for 14 per cent of all successful ‘defensive’ asylum claims.
These claims are so-called because they are made by those defending themselves from deportation proceedings, so would include migrants who have crossed the border illegally.
China also tops the table for all types of successful asylum claims, with 13 per cent of all approved applications.
That is despite the Chinese being responsible for just 1 per cent of all border encounters that year.
Around two thirds of Chinese asylum claims were successful between 2001 to 2021, the third highest success rate of any country, according to analysis of Immigration Court records by Syracuse University.
Last year, the figure was 55 per cent.
Compounding matters is Beijing’s refusal to repatriate its citizens when their asylum claims are rejected.
A former assistant secretary of state told DailyMail.com that Beijing would often deny that the migrants were indeed Chinese.
The US is powerless in these situations.
Experts are warning that the high success rate of Chinese migrants claiming asylum – coupled with Beijing’s refusal to take back them back if they fail – is acting as a ‘green light’ to many considering taking their chances on the border.
Rebecca Grant, Ph.D., a national security analyst at IRIS Independent Research, said the ‘historically high rate of accepting claims from China’ coupled with Beijing’s record of blocking repatriation acted as a ‘huge green light’ for migrants.
Chinese migrants arriving at the southern border between the United States and Mexico appeared near California in December. (Migrants pictured are not accused of having links to CCP)
The migrants, reported to be mostly Chinese nationals, were lined up neatly dressed and with proper luggage as they were processed following their illegal crossing. (Migrants pictured are not accused of having links to CCP)
Grant also raised questions over its implications for national security.
‘I want to know who these people are and why they’re here,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘The prevailing narrative is that China has got economic problems; these are economic migrants.
‘Let’s say 90 per cent of them are. They should still come in legally, so I’m not in favor in any case.
‘But the really worrying part is our adversaries see this gaping hole on the southern border because of the huge loopholes that the Biden administration allows.
‘Of course, China may take advantage of that.’
Beijing has a track record of using citizens working in the US to steal trade secrets from American companies, plundering everything from technology that can be used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons to genetically-modified seeds.
Grant suggested that the CCP may try to exploit America’s porous border by smuggling in a handful of spies among the hundred plus daily crossings.
But Michele Thoren Bond, a former assistant secretary of state, said this was unlikely.
‘It would be a pretty random way to place your agents,’ she said, adding that Beijing would likely favor a more direct method of infiltration.
Economic espionage has previously been carried out by Chinese citizens with US visas.
Bond did, however, hit out at the Chinese government for its obstruction of repatriation efforts.
She said that when she acted as Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs in the Obama administration, China was unwilling to take back its citizens.
‘They said: “Well we don’t know if they’re Chinese”.
‘If somebody has been issued a US passport, we have a photo recognition program that enables us to take a photo of that person and run it through our system and see if we get a hit.
‘Now, the Chinese do a lot more with ID in their population than we do.
‘So, it is simply not credible for them to say, “gosh, we have no way of knowing if these people are Chinese”.’
A group of people, including many from China, walk along the wall after crossing the border with Mexico to seek asylum, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, near Jacumba, California. (Migrants pictured are not accused of having links to CCP)
Former immigration judge Paul Schmidt told DailyMail.com that the reasons for the high success rate of Chinese asylum claims were threefold.
Historically, it is a hangover from congressional legislation that granted asylum to families fleeing China’s One Child policy.
Chinese migrants are also rarely unrepresented, with most arriving ‘lawyered up’, Schmidt added, while Xi Jinping’s repressive rule also gave strong grounds for asylum claims to be accepted.
He agreed with Bond’s assertion that the border was an unlikely route into the US for Chinese spies, but added that it was not without concern.
‘There’s a lot of reason to be suspicious of some of the things the Chinese government does,’ he said. ‘The Chinese government is out for the Chinese government.’
Most Chinese migrants seeking a new life in the US usually first fly into Ecuador, where they do not need a visa.
Then they pay smugglers to take them through the dangerous jungle between Colombia and Panama to the US, just like hundreds of thousands of other migrants from Central and South America.
It is thought the sudden spike in Chinese nationals heading to the US is part of an exodus from the country sparked by draconian Covid restrictions and the repressive regime of Xi Jinping.