Northern border sees migrant surge from dozens of countries; more than last 10 years combined

One sector of the northern border between the U.S. and Canada has seen more migrant apprehensions in FY 2023 so far than the last 10 years combined, with migrants from 76 countries hitting the often-overlooked border, a top official announced this week.

‘Over 6,100 apprehensions from 76 different countries in just 11 months, surpassing the last 10 years combined,’ Swanton Sector Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia tweeted.

The sector, which covers the borders of New York, New Hampshire and Vermont with Canada, saw just over 1,000 Border Patrol apprehensions in all of FY 2022, and just 365 in FY 2021.

‘Swanton Sector Agents are resolute and determined to hold the line across our 295 miles of border in northeastern New York, Vermont & New Hampshire,’ he said.

Across the border as a whole, there have been 7,633 encounters until the end of July this fiscal year, compared to 2,238 for all of FY 2022 and 916 in all of FY 2021.

The numbers are eclipsed by the enormous numbers at the southern border, where there are typically more than 200,000 encounters a month. However, it still forms a considerable challenge for the smaller staffed areas. The border, which is 5,525 miles, only has 115 ports of entry. Garcia had called for volunteers earlier this year as his sector saw spikes, particularly of Mexican migrants with no legal documents.

‘Due to the increased numbers, stations are task saturated with processing large groups, which has contributed to gotaway events, pedestrian and vehicle incursions,’ he said in February.

The Biden administration announced a new border deal with Canada in this spring, meaning that migrants who attempt to cross illegally between ports of entry into either country will be returned. Officials hoped itwould deter illegal migration at the U.S.-Canada border. It updated a 2004 Safe Third County Agreement, which did not deal with illegal immigration.

‘We know that safe, orderly and legal migration is good for all our economies,’ President Biden said, announcing the deal. ‘But we need to halt the dangerous and unlawful ways people are migrating and the dangerous ways. Unlawful migration is not acceptable, and we’ll secure our borders, including through innovative, coordinated actions with our regional partners.’ 

But Republicans in the northern part of the country have continued to sound the alarm over the high numbers of crossings. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., this week blamed the policies of both the administration and New York state for the surge, and called on Democrats and the administration to approve the House border security bill passed earlier this year. 

‘Enough is enough. It is time for Joe Biden to secure our Southern and Northern Border and the quickest way to do that is for Chuck Schumer to pass and Biden to sign into law House Republican’s Secure the Border Act, which is the strongest border security bill in history and would put an end to the Biden border crisis,’ she said.

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is now a New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate, said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she was ‘thankful for the men and women of the United States Border Patrol for working on the front lines of this dangerous situation.’ 

‘It is clear that we have a serious problem unfolding along our northern border – and the Biden administration is sitting on their hands while dangerous criminals and drugs flow into our state,’ she said.

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