New Surge of Central Americans Seen on Border
Refugees from Central America are pouring into the United States, a trend from 2014 that seems to be resurfacing along the U.S.-Mexican border this year. Many of them are children, sent on the long journey alone.
The Border Patrol, immigration courts and refugee workers were overwhelmed the last time it occurred, in 2014. Border officials have asked for more resources this time out.
In Yuma County, Arizona’s southwestern most corner, work to strengthen the fence and add patrols led to a significant decline in illegal crossings last year, 90 percent by some accounts.
It is picking up again, Yuma County law enforcement officials said.
“They’re not what you would consider a typical border crosser,” Yuma Sheriff’s Capt. Eben Bratcher said. “Many of these people are from other nations, other than Mexico. Central America, Chinese, Romanians are a big one right now, and so that’s kind of a change in what we’ve come to expect here.”
Chinese migrants flocking to San Diego, stats show
The number of unauthorized Chinese immigrants coming to San Diego has skyrocketed in recent years, the result of a lucrative smuggling industry, mass emigration from China and a diversifying pool of unauthorized immigrants settling in the United States.
Border Patrol agents in the San Diego sector apprehended an estimated 663 Chinese nationals between October and May, compared with 48 Chinese nationals last fiscal year, five in fiscal 2014 and eight in fiscal 2013, according to data provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Before that, “we just weren’t getting (Chinese nationals),” said Wendi Lee, a spokeswoman for the Border Patrol.
Lee said criminal organizations involved in smuggling maximize their profits by transporting Chinese immigrants, often charging each several thousands of dollars to get them across the border.
“We’re talking anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 per person,” said Lee. “The further you travel from, the more arrangements these criminal organizations have to make, the more expensive it will get.”