Alarming Rise in Military-Aged Chinese Men Entering US Illegally, Border Patrol Union Chief Warns

Alarming Rise in Military-Aged Chinese Men Entering US Illegally, Border Patrol Union Chief Warns

A group of illegal immigrants are processed by Border Patrol after crossing the river near the highway outside Eagle Pass, Texas, on Feb. 4, 2024. (Sergio Flores/AFP/Getty Images)

Tom Ozimek

Tom Ozimek

2/19/2024

Updated: 2/20/2024

The head of the Border Patrol union is warning about the sharp rise in the number of military-aged Chinese men crossing the U.S.–Mexico border illegally, saying that he believes some of them may be spies working on behalf of China’s communist regime to “infiltrate” the United States.
National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd made the remarks during a recent interview on “Just the News, No Noise” TV program, which came as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released its latest data for January encounters with illegal immigrants who crossed the border into the United States.
“At best, they’re here for a better life,” Mr. Judd said. “At worst, they’re here to be part of the Chinese government to infiltrate our own country.”
Aside from showing that Border Patrol agents encountered a record number of illegal immigrants (242,587) in January 2024 compared to any previous January, the CPB numbers show an alarming trend in the number of military-aged Chinese nationals entering the country illegally.
Border Patrol agents encountered 5,717 single Chinese adults in January, more than twice the number of any other January on record, CBP data shows. In December 2023, that figure rose to a record of 7,581, while the total since January 2023 stands at 64,979.
Some analysts say that deteriorating economic conditions in China, along with human rights abuses and policies such as strict COVID-19 lockdowns, are likely driving the increase.
Interviews with some of the Chinese nationals who entered the United States illegally have said much the same thing, blaming an increasingly repressive political climate and dour economic prospects.
However, Mr. Judd has suggested that for some—possibly even many—there might be a different motivation.
“Why are we seeing this influx?” he said. “At best, they’re just coming here for a better life or a better job. At worst, they’re coming here to be part of the Chinese government, and that’s what scares me an awful lot.
“I don’t want to cause mass hysteria where United States citizens are violent towards people from China,” he continued. “However, we have to ... allow the intelligence community to do their job. We’ve got to let law enforcement do their job and look into these individuals.”
He pointed out that there are “huge gangs” in the United States linked to Chinese nationals who are involved in drugs, prostitution, and other criminal pursuits.
“They control everything that’s illegal in certain portions of the country,” Mr. Judd said. “We have to look into that. It’s very important that we understand why we are having so many people from China, especially military-aged men.”
National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd at a border meeting in Del Rio, Texas, on July 18, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd at a border meeting in Del Rio, Texas, on July 18, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

‘China’s Shock Troops’

At the beginning of the current fiscal year, Chinese people were the fourth-highest nationality crossing the Darién Gap between Colombia and Panama and heading north toward the United States, after Venezuelans, Ecuadorians, and Haitians, according to The Associated Press.
Gordon Chang, a senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute and author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” wrote in a recent op-ed in The Epoch Times that, of the Chinese migrants making the dangerous trek north from points in Central and South America, “almost all are desperate, seeking a better life for themselves and their children.”
“Some, however, are coming to commit acts of sabotage,” he argued.
Mr. Chang explained that many of the Chinese nationals fly to Ecuador, which allows them to enter visa-free. Then, they travel to the southern edge of the Darién Gap, a 66-mile stretch of jungle that separates Colombia and Panama, typically crossing on foot. Once they get to the north side, they continue their journey to the United States, often by bus, according to the China expert.
“Some migrants are almost certainly members of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA),” Mr. Chang wrote.
“These military-linked migrants, despite their affiliations, have been released into America,” he argued, hinting at yet another negative consequence of the Biden administration’s catch-and-release program, under which asylum-seekers are released into U.S. communities to await asylum hearings.
Migrants walk through the jungle near Bajo Chiquito village, the first border control of the Darién Province in Panama, on Sept. 22, 2023. The journey through the Darién Gap usually takes five or six days, at the mercy of all kinds of bad weather. (Luis Acosta/AFP via Getty Images)

Migrants walk through the jungle near Bajo Chiquito village, the first border control of the Darién Province in Panama, on Sept. 22, 2023. The journey through the Darién Gap usually takes five or six days, at the mercy of all kinds of bad weather. (Luis Acosta/AFP via Getty Images)

In February 2023, the influx of Chinese nationals unlawfully entering the United States began to surge compared to historical averages. By summertime, the monthly figures had doubled compared to previous years.
For example, in June 2023, there were 4,117 single Chinese adults encountered by Border Patrol agents nationwide, while in June 2022, that figure was 2,324, and in June 2021, it was 1,854.
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said at a news conference in mid-June 2023 that a Border Patrol sector chief informed him that some of the Chinese individuals encountered along the southern border had known ties to the Chinese military.
“We have no idea who these people are, and it’s very likely, using Russia’s template of sending military personnel into Ukraine, China is doing the same into the United States,” Mr. Green said at the time.
While Mr. Chang said it’s unclear how many “PLA fighters” have slipped into the United States unnoticed, the ones who have are “China’s shock troops” and “more are coming.”
Gordon Chang, an American columnist and author, spoke at CPAC Australia in Sydney on Aug. 19, 2023. (Wade Zhong/The Epoch Times)

Gordon Chang, an American columnist and author, spoke at CPAC Australia in Sydney on Aug. 19, 2023. (Wade Zhong/The Epoch Times)

It’s estimated that more than 10 million illegal immigrants have crossed the border since President Joe Biden took office.
Republicans have blamed President Biden’s policies for fueling the border crisis, and the GOP-controlled House recently voted to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on two counts related to his management of the border.
President Biden denounced the impeachment, calling it a “blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship” on the part of House Republicans, whom he accused of “playing politics with the border.”
He also defended Mr. Mayorkas’s and his administration’s handling of border security.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas holds a news conference at a U.S. Border Patrol station in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Jan. 8, 2024. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas holds a news conference at a U.S. Border Patrol station in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Jan. 8, 2024. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Illegal Immigration Crisis

A recent report from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shows that the number of non-detained illegal immigrants inside the United States now exceeds 6 million, up from just over 3 million in 2020 during then-President Donald Trump’s final year in office.
Also, the total number of known illegal southern border crossings jumped to 2.1 million in 2023 from around 405,000 in 2020.
Nationwide, the number of illegal immigrant encounters has more than tripled over that period—from 647,000 in President Trump’s final year in office to 3.2 million in President Biden’s third year in the White House.
Democrats have said they welcome Republican efforts to enhance border security but insist it should be part of a broader immigration reform package. So far, however, efforts at immigration reform have faltered in Congress.
In 2021, President Biden proposed an immigration bill titled the U.S. Citizenship Act, which immediately sparked disagreements over provisions such as pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants, including for so-called DREAMers, which some Republicans panned as “mass amnesty” and “far more radical” than prior efforts.
Amid the continued influx of illegal immigrants into the country, the GOP has continued to push for tougher border security measures.
For example, House Republicans passed H.R. 2—dubbed the “Secure the Border Act”—in June 2023 amid the expiration of Title 42, which allowed for the rapid expulsion of illegal aliens from the United States on public health grounds.
H.R. 2 was approved by the House along party lines but was dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Republicans have called for measures such as ending the Biden administration’s contentious “catch-and-release” policy, expanding expedited removals, renewing border wall construction, and reinstating the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy.
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Tom Ozimek

Tom Ozimek

Author

Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.

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