This is an older article we wanted to share with others..Most of what you will read here is true.Nothing since has changed as far as Chinese Nationals being smuggled into the United States.
TUCSON — The unforgiving terrain of the Sonoran Desert, south of here, whose searing summers and frigid winters claim hundreds of lives each year, has long been a favored avenue of entry for illegal immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries. But in the last year, the authorities say, smugglers have increasingly capitalized on a much more lucrative business — trafficking Chinese citizens into the United States.
The number of Chinese immigrants arrested while illegally crossing the border into Arizona through the busiest smuggling corridor in the United States increased tenfold in the last fiscal year, according to the United States Border Patrol in Tucson.
In fiscal 2009, 332 Chinese immigrants were caught in the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector, up from 30 the previous year, Border Patrol figures showed. And in what could be a sign of a record-breaking pace for this year, agents in the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector arrested 281 Chinese immigrants from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
The reason is simple: dollars and cents.
As record quantities of illegal drugs are being intercepted in Arizona, those involved in taking people and drugs across the border are increasingly concentrating on the more rewarding smuggling of Chinese immigrants, said David Jimarez, a spokesman for the Border Patrol.
Chinese immigrants commonly pay smugglers upward of $40,000 each to lead them from their homeland to the United States, Mr. Jimarez said. In comparison, he said, illegal immigrants from Mexico commonly pay $1,500 to $3,000.
“The price far exceeds other nationalities, mainly due to the elaborate nature of the trip from China to Mexico,” said Vincent Picard, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Peter Chan, a Tucson businessman who works as an interpreter at the federal courthouse in Tucson, said some immigrants had told him that they had paid a deposit of $5,000 to $10,000 to Chinese smugglers before leaving China.
If the immigrants make it to America, Mr. Chan said, they begin paying the smugglers the remainder of the cost. He said some immigrants had said they had been promised a refund if they were sent back to China.
Border officials said they suspected that the smuggling of non-Mexicans into the United States was a transcontinental operation because it is so intricate.
“We believe that there is coordination between Chinese organized crime groups and Mexican smuggling organizations,” Mr. Picard said.
Chinese smugglers have traditionally used shipping containers to take immigrants through American ports, but that has subsided as container inspections have increased, Mr. Picard said.
He said that several new tactics had emerged.
In the most common one, immigrants fly from Beijing to Rome, board a plane to Caracas, Venezuela, fly to Mexico City and work their way up to the northern border and into the United States. In another, they travel to Cuba, fly to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico and travel north into the United States.
“Smuggling activity shifts with enforcement,” Mr. Picard said. “It’s like a chess game, with criminal organizations on one end and us on the other.”
Once immigrants are in Mexico, crossing into the Tucson area is the route of choice because the smuggling infrastructure is already in place, he said.
The Border Patrol’s Tucson sector does not normally track arrests of illegal immigrants by country because of the disparity of the figures between Mexico and other nations. Typically, Mr. Jimarez said, immigrants from other countries account for 2 percent to 5 percent of the total.
In 2009, 11,628 of the Tucson sector’s 241,673 arrests were non-Mexican — nearly 5 percent, Mr. Jimarez said. Only when the sector noticed the influx did it tally the number of Chinese entering in recent years.
Like others who entered the country illegally, most of the Chinese were fleeing dire situations in their homeland, said Mr. Chan, the federal court interpreter.
He said most of those immigrants he spoke with were from Fujian Province, in southeast China, and had traveled across the globe to enter the United States because of a lack of education and employment opportunities back home.
“They left even though they were very scared of leading a totally different life in a very different country,” he said.
Patsy Lee, president of the Tucson Chinese Association, said that young Chinese want to reach “gold mountain,” a phrase coined for California by those who came to work during the gold rush in the 1800s.
While the circumstances have changed, she said, the motivation for the new wave of Chinese entering the country illegally is rooted in the same ideal.
“The Chinese youth love the freedom Americans have,” Ms. Lee said. “They still see America as the land of promise.”