Federal authorities are growing increasingly concerned about a route Chinese migrants are utilizing to make their way to Florida illegally, according to an internal federal intelligence report obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The report states that law enforcement lacks information regarding who is coordinating the smuggling between the Bahamas and Florida, where the migrants are being staged in the Bahamas and why Chinese migrants are choosing the Caribbean island. It also references recent incidents of Chinese nationals entering Florida illegally via the Bahamas.
There have been five such incidents of Chinese migrants attempting to “self-smuggle” from the Bahamas, according to the report. One incident took place on July 16 and involved a group of six Chinese migrants.
“The Chinese purchased a Bahamian registered vessel in GBI and tested the capabilities before leaving and being interdicted in Palm Beach. All 6 Chinese migrants were repatriated to the Bahamas,” the report stated of the latest interdiction.
Border Patrol agents stationed in Florida have seen a spike in arrests of illegal migrants from China, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.
Agents apprehended 27 illegal migrants from China in Florida between October 2022 and June, up from 5 in all of fiscal year 2022 and 7 in fiscal year 2021, according to the data. It is unclear, however, how many of the total number of Chinese migrants caught by Florida authorities used the Bahamian smuggling route.
Federal authorities at the U.S.-Mexico border also recorded a recent uptick in encounters of Chinese migrants crossing illegally. Between October 2022 and June, Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 14,000 illegal migrants from China at the southern border, compared to roughly 1,900 in all of fiscal year 2022, according to federal data.
“Right now in China there’s extreme pessimism, especially among people in their 20s about the future of their country, so it’s understandable that they’re leaving and they’re trying to get into the United States. And, you know, these are people who are relatively middle class, so it shows you the problems in Chinese society are severe,” China expert Gordon Chang previously told the DCNF of the surge in Chinese migrants crossing the southern border.
“When I first saw that the surge in Chinese migrants, that’s the thought that came to my mind that these are either Ministry of State Security agents or Chinese military, who are coming to this country to commit acts of sabotage against the US,” Chang added.