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Chinese migrants detained at San Diego border increases by 500% from last year

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The U.S. Border Patrol Chief reported a significant increase in the number of Chinese migrants detained at the San Diego border, with a 500% rise compared to the same period last year.

Substantial surge: U.S. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens disclosed that over 20,000 migrants from China have been apprehended in the current fiscal year, marking a substantial surge of more than 500%. The issue was highlighted in Chairwoman Nora Vargas’ state of the county address on Wednesday, wherein she emphasized the growing number of asylum seekers attempting to cross into San Diego. While acknowledging the humanitarian crisis, she noted the exhaustion of approved funding.

“Our federal government has an obligation to address this global humanitarian crisis,” Vargas said of over 140,000 apprehensions in this fiscal year.

Migration reasons: Many of the migrants leave China due to a lack of economic opportunities, a worsening political climate and the desire for greater religious and cultural freedom. Some nationals are also escaping harassment and persecution by Chinese authorities. Chinese migration increased in 2018 after President Xi Jinping removed the nation’s presidential term limit. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has also struggled to restore its economy, and its youth unemployment rate remains high.

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Crossing the border: The influx of Chinese migrants was recently highlighted in a “60 Minutes” report, which revealed that many purportedly use the social media platform Douyin — the Chinese version of TikTok — to get directions, establish contacts with smugglers and find instructions on reaching the gap in the border fence ear San Diego to enter the U.S. illegally. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, they lack the authority to stop migrants at the gap and would require congressional funding to close it.

After crossing the border, the migrants surrender to Border Patrol, are processed and often released within 72 hours. Many of them seek asylum soon after. According to the Department of Justice, 55% of Chinese migrants were granted asylum last year.

Mass migration: The illegal border crossings reflect an increasing global trend of mass migration, with an unprecedented number of migrants coming to the U.S. from countries beyond Mexico and Ecuador. At the end of the 2023 fiscal year, 2 million people from around the world were arrested for illegal border crossing.

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California has reportedly become the primary destination for Chinese migrants, registering a 33% increase in Chinese population between 2010 and 2020. As of last year, about 24% of California’s population is Chinese.

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