Chinese migrant apprehensions rising at U.S. border ports in Yuma

This year, more than 50,000 Chinese migrants were stopped at Arizona's border, almost double the amount from last year.
Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 7:21 PM MST
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YUMA (3TV/CBS 5) -People crossing the border aren’t coming just from Central or South America. Some are fleeing violence and oppression in countries much farther away, including China.

According to CBP numbers, just this year, more than fifty thousand Chinese migrants were apprehended at the border, that’s almost double last year’s numbers.

Renata Castro, an immigration attorney and founder of USA 4 ALL, said many of the Chinese immigrants she works with say the political climate is driving them out of their country. “The United States was and most likely will always be the beacon on the hill where people seek refuge from oppression,” said Castro. “The movement of Chinese individuals through the border is consistent with the situation on the ground in China. Less financial opportunity and, most importantly, a growing oppression by the Chinese government,” she said.

Chinese immigrants often cross through Mexico to get to the U.S., but not before making the perilous journey through the Darien Gap in Panama’s jungle.

The Associated Press reports that Chinese migrants are flying to Ecuador and making the trek up through Panama and into Mexico. Panamanian authorities have tried to stop people from crossing through the jungle, but numbers have only grown.

Chinese migrants are the fourth largest nationality crossing through, after people from Venezuela, Haiti, and Ecuador. Customs and Border Protections says about 4,000 Chinese migrants have crossed the border into Arizona this year, that’s compared to 2022. when only 147 crossed.

Castro believes the trend will continue until there’s a change to the asylum process. Right now, they have to be in the United States to apply, something she believes needs to change. “Allow them to apply for asylum in their own country and have their cases heard by a consulate or an embassy.”

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