by Bethany Blankley
The number of Chinese nationals illegally entering the U.S. has significantly increased under the Biden administration, beginning around the 2020 election, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.
Nationwide, 18,395 Chinese nationals were apprehended in fiscal 2020; 23,471 in fiscal 2021; 27,756 in fiscal 2022; and 10,587 in the fiscal year to date.
The vast majority are single adults. In fiscal 2020, 18,014 apprehended were single adults; 23,172 were single adults in fiscal 2021; 26,447 were in fiscal 2022, and 9,772 were so far in fiscal year 2023.
These numbers include Border Patrol and Office of Field Operations data, including in southwest Florida, where apprehensions continually increase, prompting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency last month.
More Chinese nationals are illegally entering through the northern border than in the past, according to the data.
At the northern border, in fiscal 2020, 1,464 Chinese nationals were apprehended; in fiscal 2021, 897 were apprehended; in fiscal 2022, 6,698 were apprehended; and in fiscal 2023 to date, 2,795 have been apprehended, according to the data.
Chinese nationals make up such a significant number of gotaways that rescue beacons were established along the southern border and have instructions in Mandarin. Gotaways are those who intentionally seek to evade capture from law enforcement after illegally entering between ports of entry. At least 1.2 million gotaways have been reported since President Joe Biden’s been in office, a record, although that number is expected to be significantly higher because not all gotaways are recorded.
Rescue beacons positioned throughout the southern border help Border Patrol agents rescue foreign nationals attempting to make it through desert-like and remote areas. The structures are tall and white and look like antennas with a blue light at the top. About eye level is a red button and a sign with instructions in English, Spanish and Mandarin that reads: “If you need help push the red button. Help will arrive. Do not leave the area.”
The beacons also have instructions with a diagram to show people how to push the button. Once they push it a signal is sent to a nearby Border Patrol station so agents can come and rescue them. If the beacons weren’t there, those relying on them would likely die, law enforcement officers told The Center Square.
Since 2008, Border Patrol erected six beacons in Brooks County, Texas, for example, KSAT News reported in 2021, when dead bodies began to turn up in those areas.
The burden of finding dead bodies has fallen primarily on the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, whose deputies recovered a record 917 bodies of foreign nationals, according to data obtained by The Center Square from the sheriff’s office. In 2021, his staff found 119 bodies; in 2020, 34.
The south Texas region stretching from McAllen to Falfurrias in Brooks County, for example, is largely barren ranch land full of rough, unforgiving terrain that’s especially dangerous in summer months when temperatures reach well over 100 degrees. By the time foreign nationals reach Falfurrias on foot, roughly 82 miles directly north of Reynosa, Mexico, they are dehydrated and can’t continue their journey on foot, officials told The Center Square. After illegally entering Texas between ports of entry near McAllen, officials say they travel north parallel to Highway 281 following pipelines and railroad tracks going through ranchers’ properties to avoid detection. By the time they reach Brooks County, dehydrated and exhausted, many don’t make it. Many are also left behind by smugglers, the sheriff’s office has explained to The Center Square.
Fentanyl has also poured through the southern border in recent years, the precursors of which are commonly made in China and shipped to Mexico. Mexican cartels then manufacture the precursors into fake prescription pills and or lace other drugs with it. Through an elaborate trafficking network, they orchestrate the smuggling of fentanyl and other drugs into the U.S. primarily through the southern border.
Through Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, Texas law enforcement officers have seized over 360 million lethal doses of fentanyl since March 2021, enough to kill more than everyone in the U.S. This excludes the record amounts seized by other states’ law enforcement officers and by Border Patrol and DEA agents since Biden’s been in office. Combined, the agencies have reported their totals could kill the entire U.S. population multiple times over. Two milligrams is considered a lethal dose.
Multiple attorneys general, led by Florida, have called on the Biden administration to classify fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction. Abbott last fall, and now multiple attorneys general, has called on the Biden administration to designate Mexican cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. They’ve done so as members of Congress and state legislatures have filed bills to prevent Chinese entities from purchasing land in the U.S., led by Florida and Texas.
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Bethany Blankley is a contributor to The Center Square.