Biden under pressure after countries refuse to take back illegal immigrants: ‘National security concern’

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FIRST ON FOX: House lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to do more to push back against countries, including China, who fail to take back their illegal immigrants — amid an influx of nationals across the southern border.

The 14 Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, raise concerns about the record number of Chinese migrants that have flooded across the U.S. border in recent months, and that it is one of a number of “recalcitrant” countries who fail or who are uncooperative in taking back their illegal immigrants.

“This is concerning as China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pose grave threats to the United States’ economic and national security. In fact, China is one of 13 countries considered uncooperative or “recalcitrant,” systematically refusing or needlessly delaying the repatriation of their citizens,” they say in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.


Fiscal Year 2023 set a record for the number of Chinese nationals coming across the border, with 24,314 nationals. With FY 24 still not finished, that record has already been surpassed at the border. It has raised a number of national security concerns, with lawmakers and officials warning that it could open the door to Chinese espionage.

Recently, DHS touted a new charter flight of Chinese nationals, which it says was the first large charter flight since 2018. The lawmakers cite reports that fewer than 150 illegal immigrants were on the flight, while only 288 Chinese nationals were removed in FY 2023, only a small fraction of the tens of thousands coming across. 

DHS said that the flight was the result of efforts by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ efforts to engage China “on areas of mutual interest” and the countries are working to reduce illegal immigration and disrupt smuggling.

“We will continue to enforce our immigration laws and remove individuals without a legal basis to remain in the United States,” Mayorkas said in a statement announcing the flights.People should not believe the lies of smugglers.” 


The lawmakers note that federal law allows for the administration to stop granting visas to a recalcitrant country until they begin accepting their nationals back to the U.S., but in some cases existing visa sanctions have been lifted, namely for Laos.

“Ensuring a timely return of removable aliens should be a priority for the administration. The administration should ensure every country accepts all its repatriated citizens, with no exceptions,” they say.

The lawmakers request the names of all the countries currently deemed recalcitrant, how many aliens are in the U.S. from those countries, and how many have criminal records. They also ask for any visa sanctions that have been imposed on them, including on China, since 2021.


They are also asking for information on the reported 116 Chinese nationals who were repatriated on the charter flight, including whether they have criminal charges, gang affiliations and links to espionage. They also want to know how many Chinese nationals have been released into the U.S.

House Republicans have focused heavily on the potential threat of Chinese espionage at the border, including holding hearings about the threat — but it was dismissed by Democrats as fearmongering.

Republicans recently called the entry of Chinese nationals a “major national security concern” and cited data showing that there have been over 100 incidents in which Chinese nationals have been caught spying at U.S. military installations and other sensitive sites.

It comes at a time when the border crisis is a top issue for voters ahead of the November election. Republicans have accused the administration of failing to properly enforce immigration laws and of fueling the crisis by reversing what they say were successful Trump-era policies like Remain-in-Mexico and border wall construction. 

The administration says it needs Congress to provide more funding and reforms to fix a “broken” system. President Biden recently took executive action to suspend entries across the border at times of high encounters, which officials say has led to a decrease in encounters by 40%. It has also said that a majority of all southern encounters during the past three fiscal years resulted in a removal, return, or expulsion.  

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