Washington resumes deportation of Chinese immigrants

Washington DC, United States - After more than 37,000 Chinese nationals were caught crossing the Mexico-US border in 2023, the Biden administration has restarted migrant deportations to China.

The US will resume deporting of Chinese immigrants who cross into America from the Mexican border.
The US will resume deporting of Chinese immigrants who cross into America from the Mexican border.  © Collage: IMAGO/Pond5 Images/ABACAPRESS

The US government and Beijing fell out in August 2022 after then-speaker Nancy Pelosi made a controversial trip to Taiwan, triggering a strong response from Chinese officials who saw the move as provocative.

Foreign ministry officials in Beijing have said that Chinese immigrants caught entering the US illegally can now be sent back to their country of origin.

Beijing is "willing to maintain dialogue and cooperation in the area of immigration enforcement with the US," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement to the Associated Press.

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The move is another step in defrosting tensions between Washington and Beijing, which only last month saw Secretary of State Antony Blinken meet with President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

Following the meeting, President Xi expressed a desire for "mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation," while Blinken shared that there had been positive progress towards better law enforcement cooperation between the two countries.

Secretary for Homeland Security confirms China "may be changing" deportation policy

US Secretary for Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas told NBC last month that talks were underway with Beijing. At the time he said that China "may be changing" their policy of refusing deportations.

Beijing's refusal to accept deported Chinese citizens previously stymied the US government's ability to send back immigrants who, after illegally crossing the border with Mexico, failed to be granted asylum.

"We have been working with the People’s Republic of China to actually receive individuals whom we have determined are not eligible to remain in the United States," said Mayorkas.

The Chinese deportations were kept on the down-low, and it was up to an advocacy group that tracks deportation flights to bring the development to light after an unknown group of deportees landed in Shenyang at the end of March – prior to Mayorkas' statement.

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO/Pond5 Images/ABACAPRESS

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