The number of Chinese foreign nationals encountered attempting to illegally enter the United States reached an all-time high in December, according to recently released Department of Homeland Security (DHS) figures.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents reported encountering 8,622 Chinese foreign nationals in December, a shocking increase from the 1,882 Chinese foreign nationals they encountered in Dec. 2021.
In October, November, and December, a combined 23,027 Chinese foreign nationals were encountered attempting to illegally enter the U.S. — almost as many as were encountered in all of FY 2021.
The unprecedented wave of illegal immigration from the People’s Republic of China comes as Maine and several other states continue to crack down on Asian Transnational Criminal Organizations (ACTOs) that operate blackmarket marijuana grows throughout the U.S.
According to DHS, the proceeds of those blackmarket cannabis trafficking networks are used to finance narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, and other criminal activities.
Although many of the individuals arrested in recent raids in Maine have previous addresses in New York or Massachusetts, that bears little on their legal status in the U.S., as those states will give drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens.
Both national and Maine law enforcement has said most of the participants in the criminal networks are not U.S. citizens.
At a recent raid in Machias, three Asian men were arrested for operating a sprawling nine-room marijuana grow. As part of the investigation, Machias PD found two Malaysian passports and a PRC passport.
In addition to concerns over the proliferation of illegal drug manufacturing sites in rural America, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and FBI Director Christopher Wray have both recently raised concerns over the national security implications of Chinese criminal organizations operating throughout the country.
On Wednesday, Wray testified to Congress highlighting the threat of cyber attacks and physical attacks on America’s infrastructure.
“There has been far too little public focus on the fact that PRC hackers are targeting our critical infrastructure,” Wray told Congress, according to his prepared testimony.
Wray said that Chinese property acquisitions in the U.S., while legal, may still pose national security concerns because they allow PRC-aligned operatives access to conduct hostile activities inside America.
Last November, Sen. Collins urged U.S. Attorney of Maine Darcie McElwee to aggressively pursue the Chinese-controlled marijuana grows in a letter that specifically flagged reporting from the Maine Wire.
“I write to ensure that you are aware of the recent in-depth reporting by the Maine Wire regarding ‘more than 100 properties’ it identified as being ‘part of a sprawling network of Chinese-owned sites operating as unlicensed, illicit cannabis growing operating in rural Maine’,” Collins told McElwee.
“While any illicit drug operation is alarming, this situation is particularly noteworthy given the potential involvement of Chinese transnational criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking, money laundering, and other serious crimes,” Collins said.
“This occurs in the context of serious concerns being raised regarding large Chinese land purchases in the United States,” she said. “The potential national security risks are readily apparent.”