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Migrant numbers up in San Diego Sector, encounters with Chinese up 500%

Posted at 11:11 PM, Feb 21, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The U.S. Border Patrol Chief says San Diego is seeing a big jump in the number of Chinese migrants detained at the border, saying the sector is seeing a 500% increase in the numbers compared to the same time last year.

The immigration issue was one of the talking points for chairwoman Nora Vargas’ state of the county address Wednesday.

Chairwoman Vargas mentioned the increase in the number of asylum seekers trying to cross into San Diego and the funding approved to help them, which has since run out.

"Our federal government has an obligation to address this global humanitarian crisis," said Vargas.

While asylum seekers continue to arrive, the demographics are changing. On Tuesday, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens shared a tweet stating that the San Diego Sector has made over 140,000 apprehensions in the fiscal year.

He says over 20,000 of the migrants are from China, something he says is a more than 500% increase compared to the same time last fiscal year.

To try and find out why, ABC 10News spoke to Natasha Wong, president of the House of China in Balboa Park. Wong shared that friends and family back home say things haven’t recovered since the pandemic.

"I just heard that there are a lot of restrictions still on personal freedoms in China; things haven’t returned to normal," says Wong.

Wong also runs the Chinese school of San Diego and says the school principal had requests for translators to help at the border.

According to CBP numbers, in the last fiscal year to date, there were just over a thousand Chinese migrants apprehended, compared to the chief’s numbers of over 20,000 in the same time frame, roughly four months.