More Than 30,000 Chinese Nationals Have Illegally Crossed the Southern Border in Less Than a Year

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: May 27, 2024

More than 30,000 Chinese nationals have reportedly crossed the southern border of the United States illegally in less than a year. Many of these crossings occurred at the California-Mexico border.

This report comes as ongoing southern border problems persist, which has resulted in many analysts claiming that these issues constitute a “crisis.”

Chinese Nationals Cross the Southern Border

New data has shown that more than 30,000 Chinese nationals have been caught illegally crossing the southern border of the United States since October.

A border wall seen on the San Diego-Mexico border in the daytime.

Source: Greg Bulla/Unsplash

These nationals were arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol. These new record numbers come as an ongoing crisis at the southern border has prompted many in Congress to try to pass legislation that will help deal with the explosion of people seen crossing the border from many different countries.


An Increase in Chinese National Crossings

This latest data also confirms that an increase has occurred in the number of people from China caught crossing the U.S. southern border illegally.

A border wall seen on a beach and into an ocean on the California-Mexico border.

Source: Barbara Zandoval/Unsplash

In all of 2023, 24,000 Chinese migrants were found to cross the border. Meanwhile, the entire year of 2021 only saw 342 nationals from China.

Many Nationals Are Crossing the Southern Border

This data has interested analysts surveying the southern border crisis, as it’s further proof that many different people from various nations are illegally entering the United States.

A close-up look at the top of the southern border wall.

Source: Greg Bulla/Unsplash

It’s not just people from Latin, Central, or South America using the southern border to get into the country.

Illegal Crossings in California

Many of these illegal crossings done by Chinese nationals have reportedly been done on the California-Mexico border, specifically in the San Diego border area.

A close-up of a smuggling warning sign located at the San Diego-Mexico border.

Source: Greg Bulla/Unsplash

Border patrol agents have been caught off guard by this massive influx of illegal crossings in this region. As a result, they’ve now cut the number of questions they ask Chinese nationals from 40 questions to only five.

Difficulty in Identifying Migrants

Border patrol agents have also had recent difficulties in trying to identify where these migrants are coming from. Many of the migrants have been found to leave behind, or even destroy, their ID cards on the Mexican side of the border.

A close-up of a world map that is focused on China.

Source: Road Ahead/Unsplash

When they come to the U.S. and are caught illegally entering, it’s harder for agents to accurately identify where they’re truly from. This can also make deportation more difficult.


Why Chinese Nationals Are Coming to the U.S.

People from various nations have decided to migrate to the United States for many different reasons. For many, they’re fleeing oppression or life-threatening circumstances in their native homelands.

A close-up of the top of a gray border wall in Mexico.

Source: Barbara Zandoval/Unsplash

However, migrants from China are coming to the U.S. because of economic concerns more than anything else.


Claiming Asylum in the U.S.

Because many of these Chinese migrants are leaving their homeland because of economic issues, they cannot claim asylum when they enter the United States.

The southern border wall between California and Mexico seen in the daytime.

Source: Greg Bulla/Unsplash

Normally, migrants who claim asylum in the U.S. are fleeing from immediate, life-threatening problems that the U.S. cannot legally deport them back to.


Other Migrants Are Helping Each Other

After Border Patrol agents arrest these migrants, they are then let go and often taken by a bus to San Diego.

People walking on a San Diego beach during sunset.

Source: KC Welch/Unsplash

Once they are released from custody, Chinese migrants have been able to connect with others who are currently living in the country. These migrants run taxi services dedicated to helping newcomers find places to stay, as well as connect with family members who may already be in the country.


An Ongoing Trend

The U.S. southern border has seen many different trends over the years. Because of various issues in other countries, the border has seen periods where many migrants from certain nations have been caught illegally crossing the border.

A view of a town in Mexico from the other side of the California-Mexico border.

Source: Greg Bulla/Unsplash

Now, a trend of a mass amount of Chinese nationals entering the U.S. via the southern border has begun.


The Fastest Growing Group Crossing the Border

Data has recently revealed this year that Chinese nationals make up the fastest-growing group that has been caught illegally crossing the border.

A very colorful border wall seen on a beach on the California-Mexico border.

Source: Barbara Zandoval/Unsplash

More and more, Border Patrol agents have arrested migrants from China at the border. As China lies about 7,000 miles away from the San Diego border, this has shocked many.


Security Concerns at the Southern Border

Various security concerns have arisen at the border because of this ongoing crisis that has seen many migrants, not just Chinese migrants, cross into the U.S.

A close-up of a globe that is focused on a map of China.

Source: Christian Lue/Unsplash

However, ICE’s acting chief Patrick J. Lechleitner has publicly shared concern over this mass migration of Chinese nationals. On May 16, he stated that he was working with the Chinese government to create a deportation agreement between both nations.