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More Chinese are arrested at border

TUCSON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The Border Patrol near Tucson arrested 261 illegal Chinese immigrants this year, the biggest group of non-Mexicans to cross the Mexican border, officials said.

The overall number of arrests along the U.S.-Mexican border dropped, The Los Angeles Times reported. However, the number of arrests of Chinese jumped nearly tenfold.

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The increase in arrests of Chinese may not reflect a major influx of immigrants since high-priced smugglers are more adept at dodging defenses, making it difficult to assess the correlation of arrests, crossing rates and those who succeed, said Matthew Allen, chief agent of the Phoenix office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He said the Chinese pay from $30,000 to $70,000 and may work for years in the sweatshops and kitchens of New York and other major cities to pay off their debts.

Their journeys are organized by sophisticated Asian mafias along such routes as Beijing to Rome to Caracas, Venezuela, to Mexico City to the border, Allen said.

"It's much more elaborate" than smuggling Latin Americans, he said. "Waiting in hotel rooms, calls on cellphones, code words ...The trend (in increased arrests) stands out as apprehensions are going down overall."

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