HILDAGO, TX (NewsNation) — An uptick in Chinese migrants illegally crossing the southern border into the United States is allowing Mexican cartels to rack in even more cash.
Officials said cartels charge between $35,000 and $40,000 per person to smuggle Chinese nationals, which is why they’re seeing more incentives to get them across the border.
“There’s a product to be moved; product in narcotics or human beings; there’s gonna be a buyer,” said Victor Manjarrez, a former Border Patrol sector chief.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said apprehensions of nationals from China are up more than 700% compared to the same period last fiscal year.
According to CBP data, agents have encountered nearly 3,000 Chinese nationals since Oct. 1, when the 2023 fiscal year began. A total of 2,176 were encountered in the same period in FY 2022, which would be a more than 700% increase.
Officials attributed these to living conditions in the country and geopolitical movements.
The number of illegal Chinese migrants encountered by the CBP has been steadily increasing every month since February 2021, according to CBP data.
Meanwhile, officials said they’ve seen 160 countries of origin at the southern border in the last year. When hurricanes hit Haiti, they saw an increase in Haitian migrants, and when the war in Ukraine broke out, a spike in Ukrainians.
Now officials are anticipating the next surge in the coming days will be Turkish and Syrian nationals fleeing the earthquakes that have rocked the countries.
“I see that certain Chinese nationals, we saw the surge in Ukrainians. and I would expect that we’re going to see a surge of Turkey nationals and Syrian nationals,” Manjarrez said. “A lot of people will start to make decisions; should we stay or should we leave.”
Often times the cartels have associated in those refugee camps who prey upon some of the most desperate people — then move them into Central America then north through Mexico to the border. that’s why there’s an emphasis on reframing these groups as not just cartels but transnational criminal organizations.