Chinese illegal immigrant arrested after driving onto military base in California

A Chinese illegal immigrant was arrested in California on Wednesday after entering a Marine Corps base without authorization and ignoring orders to leave, officials say.

Border Patrol’s El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gregory Bovino said that agents responded to a call from the base about a Chinese national “who entered the base w/o authorization, ignoring orders to leave.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command told Fox News Digital that the individual had attempted to access the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California, without valid ID.

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This photo shows a Chinese migrant captured after entering a military base on March 27, 2024. (Customs and Border Protection)

“Despite being prompted to exit at the Condor gate by installation security, the individual proceeded onto the installation without authorization. Military law enforcement were immediately notified and detained the individual,” the spokesperson said. 

The base then contacted Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and he was then taken into custody. CBP said that Border Patrol agents had responded to a report of a suspected Chinese national who had driven onto the base without authorization. The agents arrived and determined that the man was a Chinese national who was illegally present in the U.S.

“Subject was confirmed to be in the country illegally,” Bovino said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “His purpose & intent behind his actions are still being investigated.”

There have been more than 22,000 encounters of Chinese nationals at the southern border since October 1, a massive increase from the 2,176 encountered in federal fiscal year 2022 and the 450 encountered in fiscal year 2021.

China is one of more than 150 countries represented among migrants arriving at the southern border. Some officials and Republican lawmakers have raised concerns that single adults entering from the geopolitical foe could pose a national security threat.

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“There have been numerous documented instances of Chinese nationals, at the direction of the CCP, engaging in espionage, stealing military and economic secrets,” a group of Republican senators warned last year.

They said that among those crossing the border could be “individuals who could engage in espionage activities or cyber-attacks against our critical infrastructure, government agencies, or private sector entities.”

Other migrants, however, have told Fox that they are just trying to make a better life for themselves and their families in the U.S.

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Marine base 29 Palms

Marines at a base in Twentynine Palms. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“My English is not very good, and I don’t know anyone in the United States,” one migrant said this month. “Once I get to the United States, I know I have to start all over again. But I want to live a good life in the future, and I want my children to be educated well. I strive to take root in the United States as soon as possible.”

CBP said on Friday that it does not comment on sensitive law enforcement matters, but works closely with law enforcement, intelligence and federal partners to identify those who may pose a threat to national security or public safety.

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The agency stressed to Fox News Digital that it is enforcing consequences for those who enter the U.S. illegally.

“DHS continues to enforce United States immigration laws, expanding lawful pathways while strengthening enforcement consequences for those who cross our border unlawfully. Individuals and families without a legal basis to remain in the U.S. are subject to removal pursuant to Title 8 authorities and are subject to a minimum five-year bar on reapplying for admission and potential criminal prosecution if they subsequently re-enter without authorization,” the agency said in a statement. “CBP is leveraging all available resources and partnerships to efficiently vet and process migrants consistent with law.”

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