U.S. Customs and Border Protection has encountered more Chinese foreign nationals attempting to enter the country illegally in fiscal year 2023 then in the previous three years, with nearly 40,000 single adults crossing since October.
In fiscal years 2022 and 2021, CBP reported encountering, respectively, 26,447 and 23,172 illegal border crossers who were determined to have come from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
In July, 5,133 Chinese foreign nationals attempted to enter the U.S. illegally, the highest number for a single month in all of CBP’s publicly available data.
The surge in illegal immigration from the PRC comes as Maine’s congressional delegation has called on the federal government to take action against as many as 270 illegal marijuana grow operations that have been linked the Chinese illegal aliens.
“These illegal growing operations are detrimental to Maine businesses that comply with State laws, and we urge the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shut them down,” the elected officials said in their letter.
The existence of the marijuana grow sites was first reported by the Daily Caller News Foundation, which obtained a confidential CBP memo about the grow sites.
According to the CBP memo, the I-95 corridor serves as the primary travel route for the vast marijuana grow operation, which the CBP estimates could potentially produce $4.37 billion per year.
That money, according to the CBP, supports broader criminal activity, including narcotics trafficking and human trafficking, and some is piped directly back to entities in the PRC.
Last week, in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, five Republican U.S. Senators called on the top border official to answer questions about the flow of Chinese nationals into the U.S.
In the letter, the Senators note that none of the Chinese illegal aliens encountered at the border were detained but were instead released into the interior of the country.
The Senators also noted testimony given to Congress earlier this year about the role Chinese organized crime groups are playing in American drug trafficking.
“According to testimony by John A. Cassara before the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions in March 2023,” the Senators wrote, “‘Chinese organized crime groups increasingly traffic in international markets… China is a major source of NPS and other synthetic drugs, including fentanyl and methamphetamine that are flooding into
the U.S., Canada, and increasingly other Western countries.'”