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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Illegal Border Crossings at Northern Border Continue to Break Records

'Cartels are expanding their operations, flying people into Canada, which doesn’t require a visa, presenting an opportunity for terrorist watch-listed individuals to exploit...'

(Bethany Blankley, The Center Square) Illegal border crossings at the northern border continue to break records, according to the latest data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

A record-breaking 18,644, were apprehended illegally entering the U.S. at the northern border in May, the highest total for the month of May in recorded history.

The northern border has seen the highest number of illegal entries in U.S. history under the Biden administration, The Center Square has reported.

In the first eight months of fiscal 2024, more than 99,000 were apprehended after illegally entering through the northern border, according to CBP data. If the current trajectory continues, the numbers are on track to surpass fiscal 2023 apprehensions of 147,666.

Those numbers are up from 92,737 apprehensions in fiscal 2022 and 24,895 in fiscal 2021.

CBP’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

The data excluded “gotaways,” the official term used by CBP to describe foreign nationals who illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry and don’t return to Mexico or Canada. CBP does not publicly report this data. The Center Square first began obtaining it from a Border Patrol agent on condition of anonymity to provide a more accurate picture of monthly apprehension data.

The busiest sector at the northern border is the Swanton Sector, which includes all of Vermont, six upstate New York counties and three New Hampshire counties.

The sector spans 295 miles of international boundary with the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario and is the first international land boundary east of the Great Lakes.

In fiscal 2023, Swanton Sector Border Patrol agents broke previous records by apprehending the greatest number of illegal border crossers in history of more than 6,700 foreign nationals from 76 countries, The Center Square exclusively reported.

They continue to break records.

“In less than 9 months, Swanton Sector Border Patrol Agents have apprehended more than 10,000 subjects from 83 countries,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Robert Garcia said. The total so far this fiscal year, as of June 10, was more than the sector’s entire record-setting fiscal 2023 year, he said. “We continue to see an unprecedented increase of illegal entries across eastern New York and Vermont.”

This is after northern border apprehensions reached their highest level in U.S. history in the first six months of fiscal 2024, with Swanton Sector agents apprehending in one week more than they did in fiscal 2021, The Center Square reported.

Border Patrol agents at the northern border are also apprehending the greatest number of known or suspected terrorists (KSTs), according to CBP data. In the first six months of fiscal 2024, they apprehended 143 KSTs, The Center Square reported, including an Iranian with terrorist ties.

That number is now up to 199, according to CBP data as of June 20. By comparison, 117 KSTs were apprehended at the southwest border over the same time period.

The U.S.-Canada border is the longest international border in the world of 5,525 miles. Unlike the U.S.-Mexico border, there are no border walls or similar barriers separating the U.S. from Canada and most of the northern border is unmanned and unpatrolled.

Numerous reports indicate that lack of operational control at the northern border poses a serious national security threat, The Center Square first reported.

“The northern border is under-resourced by far compared to the southwest border,” former Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan told The Center Square. “But at the same time, it still represents significant threats. Cartels are expanding their operations, flying people into Canada, which doesn’t require a visa, presenting an opportunity for terrorist watch-listed individuals to exploit. It’s much easier to get to Canada to come across.”

The Swanton Sector is currently hiring, Garcia says, offering up to $30,000 in incentives for new recruits, up from $20,000 hiring incentives offered in February.

Garcia also emphasizes how the local community plays a vital role supporting Border Patrol efforts. “Agents rely on the vigilance of our community,” he said. “Swanton Sector received more than 1,000 suspicious activity reports in 2023 and we are grateful for every call. We cannot effectively do our job without assistance from the public.”

As record numbers continue to pour through the northern border, he’s appealing to the public, saying, “We need your help now more than ever. YOUR call matters! 1-800-689-3362.”

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