Illegal Migrants Increasingly Use California’s Beaches As Entry Point

California’s beaches are becoming a popular pathway for illegal migrants attempting to enter the U.S. according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. Data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows that the number of successful and failed boat entries in California has jumped from 308 in fiscal year 2020 to 736 in fiscal year 2023.

While the majority of these migrants arrive through the San Diego area, many have also made their way north to Santa Barbara County. San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond expressed concern over the lack of information about these individuals, referring to them as “ghosts.”

Rafael Fernandez de Castro, director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego, suggested that most migrants smuggled in by boat are likely Mexicans with previous deportations or criminal histories who risk immediate deportation or jail time if caught by police.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s spokesperson stated that localities may still work with federal authorities relating to serious criminals and called for Congress to pass border security legislation and asylum reform. However, Desmond argued that California’s policies, such as a 2017 law limiting local officers’ cooperation with federal immigration partners, are welcoming illegal immigrants.