Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., chairman of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, slammed TikTok for aiding a surge of Chinese migrants trying to cross the U.S. southern border.
“This is further evidence that TikTok must be banned or sold to an American company. President Biden must also reverse his open-border policies,” Gallagher said.
“You’re not going to pay cartels thousands of dollars to smuggle you into the United States if you know you can’t get in,” Gallagher argued. “Instead, under the Biden administration’s policies, reports demonstrate that migrants receive step-by-step instructions from CCP-controlled TikTok on where to illegally cross into the United States.”
CBS program “60 Minutes” ran a segment last weekend that discussed the crisis on the U.S. southern border, highlighting that Chinese nationals comprise the fastest-growing group of illegal migrants.
TikTok did not respond to Gallagher’s comments by the time of publication.
But, in reaction to the initial report, a TikTok spokesperson said, “TikTok strictly prohibits human smuggling, which we remove from our platform and report to law enforcement when warranted.”
Migrants reportedly use TikTok videos that instruct them step-by-step on how to find someone to help smuggle them across the border and where to find a gap in the wall. The videos often focus on how to get from China or Hong Kong to Ecuador or Panama, popular starting points for Chinese people’s journeys to the U.S.
Some of the content focuses on the pitfalls immigrants can face, such as unemployment in the U.S. and the difficult life illegal immigrants can face there. One piece on Baidu detailed a man’s experience returning to China after failing to obtain asylum and the punishment he faced.
A video on YouTube shows Chinese people carrying their children on their journey across the border.
Chinese citizens have had mixed reactions to the “60 Minutes” report. Some support the people who try to flee the oppressive political regime, saying it’s “understandable” and complimenting people who dare to leave.
Others argue the belief that America provides more opportunities is a mistake, or they claim those who flee should not be allowed to return should things not work out.
Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) sources confirmed to Fox News they have encountered nearly 20,000 Chinese migrants already in fiscal year 2024 and are on track to shatter last year’s record of over 37,000, averaging around 150 migrants a day.
Between Oct. 1, 2023, and the start of fiscal 2024, over 1,000,000 migrant encounters have occurred along the southern border, he earliest that milestone has ever been reached. In the same period the prior year, the number hit just over 900,000.
The “60 Minutes” piece claimed the number of temporary visas issued to Chinese citizens wishing to travel to the U.S. had dropped from millions to just 160,000 in 2022. The U.S. State Department pushed back on this framing, instead arguing that the number has increased over the past year.
“The U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and U.S. Consulates in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenyang collectively issued 325% more visas in FY2023 over FY2022, which is a substantial increase rather than a decrease in available visas,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
The spokesperson estimated around 8 million Chinese citizens hold valid visitor visas and that the process to obtain one is “currently around 80 calendar days, but as low as 30 days in Shenyang and 50 in Beijing,” while the average wait time for a student or worker visa is around seven days.
“In the past year, we have observed increased encounters of irregular migrants from countries out of the Western Hemisphere,” the spokesperson noted. “We continue to work with partners to identify countries of concern and to coordinate responses to address the challenges of irregular migration.”
The Department of Homeland Security told Fox News Digital in a statement that the U.S. has experienced “historic global migration,” and the department is trying to “disrupt the criminal networks who take advantage of and profit from vulnerable migrants.”
“We are using every tool available to us, but we need additional funding and reforms from Congress to address our broken immigration system,” a spokesperson for DHS said.