National Security Concerns Amid Rising Illegal Immigration

Parsing Immigration Policy, Episode 155

By Mark Krikorian and Todd Bensman on May 16, 2024

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In the latest episode of Parsing Immigration Policy, we delve into the security vulnerabilities concerning the historic and increasing number of Chinese nationals who are part of the record number of migrants crossing our country’s SW border. Our guest is Todd Bensman, the Center’s senior national security fellow who testifies today at a House Homeland Subcommittee hearing, “Security Risk: The Unprecedented Surge in Chinese Illegal Immigration.”

Recent data reveals a spike in Chinese illegal immigration. In the past 35 months, more than 50,000 Chinese nationals have been apprehended by border patrol, with an additional 17-20,000 entering through the ports of entry using the CBP One app. This is up from 991 encounters in 2018, 2,060 in 2019, and 323 in 2020.

The influx of nationals from China, an adversarial nation, brings a strong security concern. The Biden administration’s own DHS National Security Threat Assessment for 2024, for instance, calls China “the most aggressive actor” in U.S.-based espionage operations. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues longstanding espionage programs targeting U.S. government entities, research institutes, and universities.

Although most of the Chinese migrants are considered to be economic migrants, the lack of rigorous vetting poses significant risks. The Biden administration has eased vetting processes, reducing the number of questions for Chinese border crossers from 40 to 5, potentially compromising national security for political expedience. This leniency creates a scenario where individuals can easily exploit the system, increasing the risk of espionage.

In addition, the concern remains that they could be coerced into espionage activities by the CCP through threats to their families in China.

With millions crossing the border, the security vulnerabilities are growing, and not just from Chinese nationals. On May 3rd two illegal immigrants – one a Jordanian national and the other a recent border crosser – attempted to force entry onto a Marine base in Virginia. One of the two has been revealed to be on the terror watch list, raising questions about a potential terror attack.


Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Todd Bensman is a Senior National Security Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.


Congressional Testimonty: The Unprecedented Surge in Chinese Illegal Immigration [Will be published at 2 p.m. EST]

China is Exploiting Biden’s Lax Border Policies Imperiling US Security

CBP Watering Down the Vetting of Chinese Migrants

Chinese Organized Crime Takes Root in Vacationland

Did Jordanian Border Crosser Just Attempt Terror Attack on Marine Corps Base?

Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a "Conehead" on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes".