It’s no secret that the Biden administration has ceded control of our southern border to the Mexican cartels. Malign actors across the globe, most notably the Chinese Communist Party, are watching the dysfunction at our border and wasting no time trying to exploit it. With two months remaining in this fiscal year, Border Patrol had recorded 17,678 apprehensions of Chinese nationals at the southern border. The number of Chinese nationals apprehended was 1,236 in fiscal 2020, just 323 in fiscal 2021, and 1,970 in fiscal 2022.
This unprecedented surge has taken a significant toll on Customs and Border Protection officials. Gloria Chavez, chief patrol agent for the Rio Grande Valley Sector, said in March that apprehensions of Chinese nationals in fiscal 2023 in the sector had increased more than 900% compared to fiscal 2022. She tweeted that the surge was “creating a strain on our workforce.”
The Chinese nationals illegally entering our country claim they are coming for a better life, but as one chief patrol agent recently told the House Committee on Homeland Security, the “typical reason” Chinese nationals are giving for entering the United States is “the same as most of the migrants — for work or a better life.”
We also cannot ignore that some of these people pose a significant threat to our national security. In a recent hearing before the committee, one witness informed members that another sinister power, Venezuela, had been known to embed agents in the flow of Venezuelan immigrants to neighboring Colombia to “harass and persecute” critics of the Venezuelan government. The witness said, “Thus, a U.S. adversary has taken advantage of this human wave to conceal the entry of spies into a traditional U.S. ally. This begs the question of what more sophisticated U.S. adversaries like China and Russia might be doing to take advantage of the historic migration flows across the U.S. southern border.”
The CCP is not only taking advantage of our open border but is lining the pockets of the cartels in the process. One report found that three Chinese nationals each paid $35,000 to cartels to smuggle them across the border in February 2023. Some Texas officials have said this is just a baseline and that some Chinese nationals may pay cartels as much as $50,000. One chief patrol agent told the committee he had seen reports of $60,000 payments.
To put these numbers in perspective, if every one of the 17,678 Chinese nationals apprehended illegally crossing the border so far in fiscal 2023 paid the cartels $35,000, the total revenue from smuggling these people into the country would be approximately $618 million. If each of the people paid $50,000 to be smuggled in, the revenue by the cartels would increase to approximately $880 million.
This revenue stream goes on to inflict further damage to our national and regional security by enabling the various cartels to continue expanding their influence in Latin America and striking fear into the hearts of government officials and innocent citizens.
CCP officials, and companies linked to the CCP, are also responsible for the fentanyl epidemic that is ravaging our country and killing Americans. A majority of the precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl are manufactured in China and sent to Mexico through the networks of various transnational criminal organizations. Under the Trump administration, our nation held the CCP accountable for its lack of law enforcement measures to tackle this illicit trade. We must go back to that policy if we hope to end this scourge in our society.
It is no secret that the CCP is using Biden and Mayorkas’s border crisis to exploit our nation, undermine our sovereignty, and jeopardize the lives of people across the country. This is a national security threat that must not be underestimated. The sovereignty of our country depends on it.
It is time for Mayorkas and Biden to admit their policies have failed and to get serious about securing our border against the CCP threat.
Dale Strong is a U.S. representative for Alabama and serves on the House Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Science, Space, and Technology Committees.