U.S. Deports Over 100 Migrants with China’s Cooperation

The Associated Press reports that on July 2 the Department of Homeland Security sent 116 Chinese migrants from the United States back home in the first “large charter flight” in five years.

DHS said it was working with China to “reduce and deter irregular migration and to disrupt illicit human smuggling through expanded law enforcement efforts.”

In recent years, the United States has had a difficult time returning Chinese nationals who do not have the right to stay in America because China has resisted taking them back.

China suspended cooperation in such cases in 2021 in retaliation for the visit by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

The U.S. responded by refusing to issue visas to certain Chinese. Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows the U.S. to retaliate against countries that fail to repatriate deportees.

Specifically, the Secretary of State ordered consular officers in the PRC to discontinue granting B 1, B2, B 1 /B2, F 1, F2, Jl, and J2 for PRC officials who are holding the rank of deputy director (or equivalent) and above who are employed by the PRC’s National Immigration Administration (including the Exit and Entry Bureau) as well as their spouses and children under the age of 21 whether married or unmarried; and officials currently employed by the National Supervisory Commission, Ministry of State Security, and Ministry of Public Security and the spouses and children under 30 of the above officials. 

U.S. border officials arrested more than 37,000 Chinese nationals on the southern border in 2023, 10 times the number during the previous year. Many had made it to the Western Hemisphere by taking advantage of Ecuador’s visa-free entry policy for Chinese nationals, which has now been discontinued.

Earlier this year, a charter flight carried a small but unknown number of deportees to the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, according to Thomas Cartwright of Witness at the Border, an advocacy group that tracks deportation flights.

DHS said they are working with China on more removal flights in the future but did not give a timeline for when the next one would happen.

There is no word on whether the Secretary of State will ease the section 243(d) sanctions in light of signs China may be more cooperative.

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