A series of Chinese national apprehensions along the Southwest border have brought into question whether illegal immigration into the United States is still mostly arriving from Latin American countries.
Recently, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended two Chinese nationals in the El Centro Sector in California after the two individuals were seen flying in an ultralight aircraft from Mexico into the U.S. The individuals attempted to fly undetected into a remote desert of California in the early hours of the morning, but thanks to surveillance, the Border Patrol was able to apprehend the individuals as soon as they landed onto U.S. soil.
While an isolated incident, attempts of Chinese illegal immigration into the country is not unprecedented. Less than a month ago, three Chinese nationals maneuvered a panga-style boat from northern Mexico onto a Southern California beach, where they ran from the shore onto public streets before being apprehended by authorities.
Throughout the last few months, President Trump has been heavily scrutinized for suggesting that individuals crossing the Southwest border are from other countries outside of Latin America, but the reality is more foreign nationals from distant countries are aiming to enter the country illegally as the administration begins to curb legal immigration numbers.
The permeable Southwest border simply invites Chinese nationals and other foreign individuals from near and far to enter the country illegally. As we have learned on 9/11, it only takes a small number of people to cause horrific and irreversible damage to a nation. The 9/11 terrorists did not sneak across the border, but they exploited a vulnerability with catastrophic consequences.
As a whole, Chinese national apprehensions along the Southwest border are still relatively low in comparison to Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador). Yet, interestingly enough, Chinese figures for FY 2017 are still more than the figures combined for Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia.
Typically known for its large immigration numbers into the U.S. through legal mechanisms, such as through family chain migration or the H1-B Visa program, it is noteworthy to see that Chinese nationals are still tempted to cross the Southwestern border illegally, when millions are already granted legal status into the country annually. From these numbers, it appears that high levels of legal immigration do not deter illegal immigration, but rather fuel it. Ironically enough, it seems that almost every country with high levels of legal immigration to the U.S. is also responsible for high levels of illegal immigration.
While it is impossible to know who might present an immediate threat to country, there is still much need to secure the Southwest border and ensure the country knows who exactly is crossing the border.