Border Patrol agents in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire apprehended more people illegally entering the US from Canada in the last three months than than in the previous two years combined amid the country’s migrant influx.
Officials in 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 last year, sector chief, Robert Garcia said last week, according to a 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 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 frigid northern border was tragically illustrated on Jan. 19, when two adults, a teen and and an infant from India were found frozen to death in a vehicle 40 feet from the border in North Dakota.
Temperatures had sunken to 13 degrees below zero during an 11 hour wait at the border, during which the group had 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 illicit 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.
The numbers paled into comparison to the more than 700,000 encounters agents had reported during the same time period at the southwestern border as asylum seekers flooded to the US as a pandemic-era emergency measure that had expelled millions of them was expected to expire.
Still, those trying to enter through Canada faced a unique set of hazards than their counterparts south of the border.
“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 reportedly 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 had flow 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 faces a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
CBP has warned that the frozen terrain, covered with snow and ice, makes “traversing unfamiliar territory perilous,” and officials have ended up “rendering potentially life-saving aid” to groups of people with small children trying to enter the country 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 reportedly 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.”