April 15, 2024

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A video of alleged Chinese migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is making rounds on Instagram.

What the video shows: In the video posted by user @gopaaron14, several Asian people — including children — from what appears to be a group are seen walking next to a steel border. The apparent entry lies at one edge of the fence on a small hill of giant rocks. It is unclear where exactly this supposed access point is.

The facts: Chinese nationals are able to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 6,500 of them were apprehended between October 2022 and March 2023, Reuters reported in April. By July — the latest month on tally — the number had ballooned to more than 17,600, the largest on record by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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How they are doing it: The Chinese migrants typically start their journey in Ecuador, which is visa-free for Chinese citizens, as per The Diplomat. From there, they head to Necoclí, a town in Colombia’s northern coast, which then leads to the Darién Gap, a 66-mile dense jungle reportedly filled with armed guerillas, drug traffickers and deadly biodiversity. Some who undertake the treacherous journey allegedly pay smugglers up to $35,000 for help.

Why they are doing it: The migrants cite various reasons for going the illegal route. One common excuse is the difficulty of obtaining a U.S. visa. Pandemic travel restrictions have also exacerbated the demand.

Security concerns: This week, U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Daily Mail that there has been a “massive increase” of Chinese nationals tied to China’s military who had crossed the southern border.

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Earlier this month, the FBI and the Department of Defense reported that there are more than 100 incidents involving Chinese nationals who pose as tourists before attempting to breach U.S. military bases.

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