(NewsNation Now) — More Chinese migrants are making the complicated, dangerous and expensive journey to cross the U.S.-Mexican border starting in South and Central America.
Recent months have seen a more than 700% increase in the number of Chinese migrants, according to data provided by U.S. Border Customs and Border Protection.
But why here and why now?
“Maybe you want to use the perfect storm idea,” said Zai Liang, an expert on migration who authored “From Chinatown to Everytown.” China’s economy is still slow after years of harsh pandemic lockdowns, Liang said. Many low-skilled workers are struggling to find jobs — just as the U.S. struggles to fill those jobs here.
Add in the recent ending of pandemic policies that restricted Chinese people from traveling outside their country, plus relaxed visa rules in Ecuador, Brazil and other South American countries — and the result is a new pathway to the “old story” of Chinese immigrants looking for opportunities in the U.S., Liang said.
NewsNation dug into this journey, documenting one immigrant’s path across four continents and two hemispheres. While not every migrant takes this route, many do.