House Republicans expressed alarm over the presence of many Russian and Chinese nationals at the U.S. border.
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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel have intercepted an increasing number of foreign nationals from countries not in South or Central America, including Russia, as well as several high-value targets from China, House Republicans stated.
Several lawmakers raised concerns regarding an unsecured southern border during a June 21 House subcommittee hearing on threats posed to the United States by “malign nation-state actors in Latin America.”
During the hearing, Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence, expressed alarm and shared significant information regarding encounters with foreign nationals from various countries of concern.
“I am concerned that the chaos of the Southwest border could be taken advantage of by anti-U.S. regimes—not just can, but has been,” he said.
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“Meanwhile, the PRC and our foreign adversaries are expanding their spheres of influence in Latin America, right in our backyard. … There are clear implications for U.S. homeland security,” he added, referring to the abbreviation of China’s official name: People’s Republic of China.
Pfluger highlighted the growing migration crisis resulting from the administration’s policy decisions, leading to significant increases in encounters at the Southwest border. Of particular concern were the encounters involving individuals from what he referenced as communist China and Russia.
He pointed out that several sheriff’s offices had reported apprehending multiple high-value targets from China, who were subsequently taken into custody by the FBI. The Republican from Texas also cited data from the CBP showing an increase in fiscal year 2023 encounters with nationals from various continents by border patrol along the southwest border.
“In the first seven months of fiscal year 2023, over 9,711 PRC nationals were encountered by U.S. border patrol along our Southwest border exponentially more than the previous three years,” Pfluger said, warning that the “chaos of the Southwest border could be taken advantage of by anti-U.S. regimes.”
The lawmaker went on to emphasize that the expanding influence of China and other foreign adversaries in Latin America posed clear implications for U.S. homeland security. The chairman further stressed the urgent need to address the security challenges associated with nation-state actors in the region.
In his opening statement, Pfluger underscored China’s economic and security ties with Latin American countries such as Brazil and Venezuela. He highlighted the substantial financial support provided by China, with loans offered to the region amounting to about $137 billion.
Venezuela has emerged as the primary beneficiary, receiving roughly $60 billion in loans, which could be seen as problematic, considering China’s military and security partnerships, including the sale of $615 million worth of weapons to Venezuela between 2009 and 2019.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) released its annual report stating that Illegal immigrants cost U.S. taxpayers $163 billion every year.