A New Wave of Chinese Middle-Class Migrants Is Coming to the US

Asylum seekers cross the Mexico-US border, after which they are processed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents near Boulevard, California. They are part of a growing group from China who are crossing the US border illegally, seeking asylum and a better life Photography and video by Nicoló Filippo Rosso Share this article They arrive a few dozen at a time, in several bursts each day, part of the multinational stream of migrants entering the US. They stand out, and not just because they’re Asians in a migration flow made up mostly of people from Latin America. They also appear more affluent than others and more uncomfortable with the desert conditions, particularly when night falls and it’s time to brave the cold. Asylum seekers from China try to keep warm as they wait for CBP agents to process them after arriving near Boulevard, on Nov. 26, 2023. Migrants can spend several days outside in the desert waiting to be processed with temperatures dipping below freezing. The migrants are part of a growing number of the Chinese middle class on the run from an economic slowdown. They include entrepreneurs who saw business evaporate in the downturn, middle-aged fathers laid-off from China’s collapsing real-estate sector and young software engineers eager to make it in Silicon Valley. “I want freedom and a better life,” a young woman who asked to be called Lili told a photographer for Bloomberg News documenting the migrants at a crossing near the California desert outpost of Jacumba Hot Springs. Chinese asylum seekers shield themselves with papers in front of their face for fear of being identified as they wait to be processed by US Customs and Border Protection agents. Chinese asylum seekers shield themselves for fear of being identified back home as they wait to be […]

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