Border Patrol agents in new yorkVermont and New Hampshire apprehended more people illegally entering the US from Canada in the past three months than in the previous two years combined, authorities say.
Officials in the states, which make up the federal agency’s eastern “Swanton Sector,” saw a 743% increase in apprehensions and encounters between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 compared to the same period in 2021, sector chief, Robert Garcia said last week the press release.
In December, a record 441 people were detained by US Border Patrol and Customs at the Canadian border in the region after flying to Canada from at least 19 countries, according to The Center Square. Fourteen others abandoned their illicit journey to America, and at least 135 foreign nationals evaded authorities and are now in the US illegally, officials told the outlet.
Further west, the influx at the US’s frigid northern border was tragically illustrated Jan. 19, when two adults, a teen and an infant from India were found frozen to death in a vehicle 40 feet from the border in North Dakota.
Temperatures had dropped to 13 degrees below zero during the group’s 11-hour trek near the Canadian border as they left a vehicle and tried to enter the US on foot, officials said.
A Florida man was arrested for trying to smuggle them and a van full of fellow illegal border crossers into the US.
The CBP’s “Grand Forks Sector,” which covers Minnesota and North Dakota, saw 90 apprehensions in the last three months of 2022, compared to just 80 during the entire year before, the Daily Mail reported Sunday.
BP said in its release that the number of people illegally entering the US from Canada in its Swanson Sector in the past three months was more than in the previous two years combined but did not provide specific numbers.
By comparison, there were more than 700,000 encounters reported by authorities during the same time period at the US’s southwestern border with Mexico. Asylum-seekers flooded to the country there as a pandemic-era emergency measure that had expelled millions of them was expected to expire.
Those trying to enter the US through Canada face a unique set of hazards.
“Reckless endangerment: In freezing temperatures over uncertain terrain, families with children, from just a few months old, continue to illegally cross from Canada into the US The risk to human lives – including Border Patrol agents – is increasing,” Garcia said.
As illegal crossings soared in upstate New York and New England, so did violence. Nine assaults were recorded in connection with illegal Canadian crossings from July to November, after authorities reported no attacks for the previous 27 months, officials reportedly said.
A Mexican national who flew to Canada to enter the US illegally from the north pleaded guilty to “unlawfully entering the United States and assaulting and resisting a federal agent” and now faces a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
CBP has warned that the frozen northern border terrain, covered with snow and ice, makes “traversing unfamiliar territory dangerous,” and officials have ended up “rendering potentially life-saving aid” to groups of people with small children trying to enter the US on foot.
“Swanton Sector’s greatest concern in carrying out our mission of border security is the preservation of life – the lives of community residents we are sworn to protect, the lives of our Border Patrol Agents carrying out the mission day-in and day-out in the field, and the lives of the individuals, families, and children we are charged with apprehending as they attempt to circumvent legal processes for entry,” Garcia said.
“Unfortunately, the transnational criminal organizations that stand to profit from the increased flow of human traffic care only about profits and have no concern for the welfare of those whose plight they seek to exploit for financial gain.”