Illegal immigrants, shady individuals, violent criminals, and diplomatic strain.

The issue plagues America, but this part of the problem is not with Mexico or Latin American nations, but rather China.

It is just one more element that is stoking tensions between China and the United States, with detailed reports about the Asian superpower giving bureaucratic excuses for refusing the return of thousands of individuals that I.C.E. and Homeland Security have marked for deportation, but can’t due to unfulfilled paperwork.

It appears that China, well, simply doesn’t want them back. As Reuters reports:

In cities across America, U.S. immigration agents arrested more than two dozen Chinese nationals with unfulfilled deportation orders, telling them that after years of delay, China was finally taking steps to provide the paperwork needed to expel them from the U.S.

But, not for the first time, China failed to provide the necessary documents, and three months later not one of those arrested has been deported, and many have been released from custody.They form part of a backlog of nearly 39,000 people Chinese nationals awaiting deportation for violating U.S. immigration laws, 900 of them classed as violent offenders, according to immigration officials.

The issue, which is likely to come up during a state visit to Washington later this month by Chinese President Xi Jinping, hasfurther strained a U.S.-China relationship already frayed by tensions over economic policy, suspected Chinese cyber hacking and Beijing’s growing military assertiveness.

Meanwhile, China is pushing the U.S. on a different immigration issue: the return of Chinese citizens it says are fugitives from corruption investigations at home.

[…]

China has been extremely slow, U.S. immigration officials say, to provide the proof of citizenship necessary to send visa violators home.

U.S. immigration officials have had more than their share of excuses as wellfor not dealing with the massive illegal immigration problem in this country, but the problem remains.

While illegal immigrants from south of the border capture the national spotlight, as well as most of the indignation of ordinary Americans fed up with an economic assault on their jobs and decreasing prospect, the issue with Chinese illegal immigrants remains ‘unseen.’

Given the covert but serious ongoing Cold War with China, the standoff over illegal immigrants from Asia amounts to a significant invasion of sovereignty and, perhaps, an uncomfortable reminder of how much power the Red Dragon has in resisting and challenging U.S. policy on all fronts.

Penetration of America by undocumented Chinese persons also likely plays into concerns about espionage, and the sordid history of Chinese spies who have lifted national security secrets and exported them back to Asia.

The Clinton Administration was accused of selling access to well-connected Chinese assets, allowing them to gain classified secrets.

But the issue with Chinese espionage has never been as serious as it is now. The age of cyberwarfare has made many acts easier, and detection more difficult, while compromising and treasonous liaisons at the highest levels of government has likely given China all the intelligence it seeks on some of our nations’ deepest secrets.

The FBI has probed hundreds of Chinese spy cases, while 60 Minutes exposed evidence of a Pentagon official caught on tape selling secrets to the Chinese:

We’re used to spy novels about the Russians, but today’s reality in espionage is different. China has just as good a spy network in the United States. And you are going to see a Chinese spy caught red-handed taking American military secrets from an employee of the Defense Department… The Chinese are shopping for information ranging from U.S. nuclear weapons designs to the inside deliberations of the Obama White House.

The reality goes even deeper – and everyone is aware of how much U.S. debt China holds, among other aces in hand.

Suffice to say, the refusal to accept deported Chinese individuals is just the tip of the iceberg in a problem that underscores how deeply China has become embedded with the American power structure.

How far will Obama and other U.S. officials go in bowing to China’s will, and what should we make of its accelerated military posturing?

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