Customs and Border Protection agents have identified individuals from more than 150 nations attempting, mostly successfully, to enter the United States. Among those aliens, the Chinese are arriving in increasingly large numbers.
The journey for these Chinese is thousands of miles long, costly and dangerous – one that few would willingly embark upon since their futures, once in the U.S., would be uncertain. The Chinese migrants speak little English and have limited work skills. Nevertheless, one Chinese migrant, Zhang Kiayu, began his journey north in Ecuador, then traveled through Colombia, passed through the treacherous Darien Gap where smugglers then coordinated his travel on to Panama before reaching the Mexico/Texas border. Speculation is on the rise that the migrants may be Chinese Communist Party agents. A CCP affiliation would explain who funded the $35,000 Kiayu paid traffickers.
Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez said that the spike in Chinese migrants is unusual and “very alarming.” Olivarez blamed the cartels who are, he said, running a “very lucrative business.” During February 2023, there were 1,368 encounters of Chinese migrants versus 55 during February 2022. Since October, just five months into the current fiscal year, the total has grown to 4,366.
Chinese immigration to the U.S. has a long and often turbulent history. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and restrictions that the Chinese government imposed after World War II and the Chinese Communist Revolution limited migration. But after the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 removed the barriers for non-European immigrants, and after China relaxed it emigration restrictions, the number of Chinese immigrants residing in the U.S. nearly doubled from 370,000 in 1980 to 677,000 in 1990. The number doubled again by 2000 to more than 1.8 million before reaching 2.4 million in 2021. The Chinese population has continued to grow. Chinese Americans are the largest Asian origin group in the U.S., and represent the third largest origin group after Mexican and Indian migrants.
There’s an important distinction between then and now, however. The Chinese surging the border are illegal aliens as opposed to earlier waves that, for the most part, arrived in the U.S. through a legal port of entry and held a valid visa. Kiayu and the others released at the Southwest border were given notices to appear for an immigration hearing. Even if their intention is to show up, and fewer than half do, appointments are often backlogged for up to seven years. During the waiting period, the whereabouts and the intentions of the unvetted migrants, Chinese and otherwise, will remain unknown. Evaluating the arriving Chinese, some wonder if given the CCP’s quest for world domination, their government might be motivated to take advantage of the Biden administration’s open borders to smuggle agents into the U.S.
The Biden administration may play down or even dismiss the national security threat that China represents, but FBI Director Christopher Wray has a different perspective. Wray points to what the FBI calls China’s “Talent Plans” that allow its nationals with existing jobs in the U.S. “to participate in such plans part-time so they can maintain their access to intellectual property, trade secrets, pre-publication data and methods, and U.S. funding for their research.” These plans, maintains the FBI, represent a risk to universities, laboratories and U.S. businesses. Wray told a Hudson Institute audience that the FBI opens a new case related to China every 10 hours and that 50 percent of the roughly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases are China-related.
China’s foreign minister Qin Gang warned of pending “conflict and confrontation” with the U.S. In turn, the Department of State cautioned against U.S. citizens traveling to China because of “arbitrary enforcement of local laws” and the risk of wrongful detention.
FBI alerts about Chinese interference in U.S. affairs are more than hypothetical. In 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative estimated that Chinese theft of American IP costs U.S. firms between $225 billion and $600 billion every year. In 2014, China stole the files of more than 22 million Americans, including the security-clearance files of everyone in the intelligence establishment. General Keith Alexander, a former National Security Agency director, has called China’s technology theft “the greatest transfer of wealth in human history.”
With red flags flying, and with the stakes at American universities, laboratories and businesses high, Biden’s indifference to the Chinese entering illegally, and virtually at will, proves his callous disregard for the nation he’s sworn to defend and the citizens who trusted him.
Joe Guzzardi is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes about immigration and related social issues. Joe joined the Project for Immigration Reform in 2018 as an analyst. A native Californian, Joe now lives in Pennsylvania. Contact him at jguzzardi at pfirdc.com