Monday, September 18, 2017

A paradigm shift in illegal border crossings-those aren’t Latinos coming across.

by Chivis Martinez for Borderland Beat
In this tunnel, Border Patrol agents discovered 30 illegal immigrants, including 23 Chinese nationals.   (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP) 
Undocumented Chinese immigrants take the lead in apprehension numbers
                 At around 1 a.m on Saturday August 26, California Border Patrol agents made a surprising discovery; a crudely constructed tunnel that was being facilitated to smuggle illegal immigrants in to the United States. 
And the overwhelming majority of the immigrant group were not Mexican, or even Latino, 23 of the group of 30 were Chinese.  There were 21 Chinese males and 2 females.  There exists a new human smuggling trend that is setting records, as it did in 2016, when the number of undocumented Chinese migrants, surpassed the number of Mexicans.  The steep price tag that Chinese migrants must pay to be smuggled into the U.S. is 50 to 75 thousand USD, making it a very lucrative industry.
Far apart from the sophisticated drug tunnels of El Chapo, the newly discovered tunnel is a simplistic, rudimentary, system that utilized a ladder in place of an elevator, found in many Mexican Cartel tunnels.

Using tunnels to transport migrants into the U.S., is not new or unheard of, but it is atypical and the tunnels used are the throw away tunnels, tunnel projects abandoned for whatever reason.   What is new is who they are finding using the tunnels.

Unfinished tunnel projects can present problems.  An example is a few years ago when a migrant got stuck in a narrow passage, trapping himself and four others behind him.  They were rescued by BP.
Migrants were "stuck" in this narrow tunnel
Joaquin “el chapo” Guzmán, the master and originator of drug tunnels, has perfected tunnel construction projects to include rail car transport, ventilation and lighting systems.  The entry is on the Mexico side of the border, and  terminates on the U.S. side, typically popping up through the floor of a California warehouse, or single family home purchased specifically for its location.  

Not all tunnels are alike.  It is dependent on its intended usage of how superior it must be developed.  If it is to be an ultra-long tunnel to transport drugs or a prison escapee, it will require all the bells and whistles.  In 2016 a record breaking tunnel was discovered in San Diego.  It stretched for half a mile and included electric lights, rail and ventilation systems.  The tunnel initiated in a house in Tijuana, where an elevator was installed in a closet expediting the entry/exit, and then exiting through a pallet business on the California side.  It measured 775 meters in length.

Things became chaotic when agents approached the group.  Some ran back into the tunnel, others attempted to run off.  They were detained and taken to the Chula Vista Border Station for questioning.  
The tunnel was approximately one mile in length.

While illegal border crossings by Mexicans and other Latinos has diminished to record breaking lows, attributed by many to the “Trump effect”, [Trump IS the wall],  the number of undocumented Chinese immigrants coming to California’s south order,  has climb sharply in recent years.

Between the months of October to May nearly 700 Chinese nationals were apprehended, compared to 5 in 2014, and 48 in 2015. Before 2014 a spokesperson for Border Patrol said “we just were not getting any Chinese nationals.”

The Chinese surge, with the premiums charged them for border crossing, is capitalized on  for cartel profits, maximizing revenue derived from a “diversification” apart from a drug trafficking. 

Trafficking humans, requires is a much less elaborate method of earning profits,  than trafficking drugs, with little loss even if plans end unfavorably.

“Factank” from the PEW Research Center

The number of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. illegally has declined by more than 1 million since 2007. In 2014, 5.8 million unauthorized immigrants from Mexico lived in the U.S., down from a peak of 6.9 million in 2007. Despite the drop, Mexicans still make up about half of the nation’s 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants (52% in 2014).

In 2016, a total of 192,696 Mexicans were apprehended in illegal border crossings opposed to 222,847 non-Mexicans.

On the Mexican side of the southern border, some Chinese nationals are electing to stay in Mexico, resulting in  a whole different set of issues, mostly social.