Ecuador's tougher immigration rules appear unlikely to slow Chinese nationals illegally entering US

In roughly first five months of fiscal 2024, 24,214 Chinese nationalists were apprehended for illegally crossing the southwest U.S. border.

Published: June 22, 2024 10:00pm

Ecuador recently reinstating visa requirements for Chinese citizens to stop them from using the South American country as a starting point to the southern U.S. border – a good turn of events for America's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. But the smaller South American country Suriname might have minimized future success at halting such immigration by offering Chinese citizens a 30-day visa-free pass.

The move by Suriname also comes amid the countries' recently strengthening diplomatic and economic ties – including  working closely together on trade agreements and such infrastructure projects China's Belt and Road Initiative. 

This initiative, led by the Chinese Communist Party, aims to expand its influence globally through significant investments in infrastructure and trade routes across Asia, Europe and Africa.

Meanwhile, the number of Chinese nationals encountered and apprehended at the U.S. border has increased dramatically.

In roughly first five months of fiscal 2024 – from October 2023 to mid-April 2024 – 24,214 Chinese nationalists were apprehended for illegally crossing the southwest U.S. border.

And the number of so-called "encounters" between U.S. border agents and Chinese nationals in March alone marked a roughly 8,000% increase compared to March 2021, acccording to a report released in April by Republicans on the GOP-led House Homeland Security Committee

"The potential national security implications of this unprecedented influx are concerning," said the committee, which also pointed to a Chinese national in the U.S. illegally having breached a military base in California and month earlier.

Other concerns include Chinese citizens and companies buying land in the U.S., which has resulted in state lawmakers drafting legislation to stop what they consider a national security threat. 

More than two-thirds of states – primarily controlled by Republicans – have enacted or are considering laws limiting or barring foreign ownership of land, Politico recently reported

“They are buying up our entire food supply chain and when America can’t feed itself and we rely on another country to feed us it becomes a national security issue,” South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem recently told Congress. 

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