By Virginia Allen
America’s southern border is not the only one experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of illegal migrants attempting to cross into the country.
Customs and Border Protection reports record numbers of encounters with illegal migrants at America’s northern border with Canada.
“While the southern border garners most of the attention, both of America’s borders are wide open because of the failed policies of the Biden administration,” Robert Law, director of the Center for Homeland Security and Immigration with the America First Policy Institute, told The Daily Signal.
So far in fiscal year 2023, which began Oct. 1, some 55,736 illegal migrants have been encountered at the northern border, nearly as many as were encountered in 2020 and 2021 combined. If the trend continues, the northern border will experience a record number of encounters this year. In fiscal 2022, CBP reported 109,535 encounters at the northern border.
“This administration is setting all the wrong records and exposing American communities to potential national security threats because of its refusal to defend the homeland,” Law said.
Due to the surge of illegal migrants at the southern border, some Border Patrol agents have been moved from the northern border to help in sectors along America’s border with Mexico.
“Currently, U.S. Border Patrol has approximately 29 agents—all volunteers—supporting southwest border operations from northern border sectors,” a CBP spokesperson told The Daily Signal. “In 2022, at the peak of deployments, 464 agents were deployed from northern border sectors.”
America’s northern border is composed of eight sectors. The Swanton Sector encompasses about 24,000 square miles in Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire. On Feb. 13, the Swanton Sector announced it experienced a record “367 apprehensions and encounters” in January, more than the combined total of every January of the previous 12 years, which total 344.
The record number of crossings took place in January, despite “temperatures reaching -4 degrees Fahrenheit,” according to Customs and Border Protection.
“As we progress deeper into winter and continue to address the ongoing pace of illicit cross-border traffic, the level of concern for the lives and welfare of our Border Patrol agents and those we are encountering — particularly vulnerable populations — continues to climb,” Swanton Sector Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia said in a statement.
The influx of illegal migrants attempting to cross the northern border has led the Department of Homeland Security to ask Border Patrol agents to volunteer for a temporary deployment to the Swanton Sector, according to Ali Bradley, NewsNation border correspondent.
“Everyone focuses on the southern border, but the northern border should never be ignored, because it is bigger and has less infrastructure and personnel than the southern border — and the smugglers have noticed,” said Hannah Davis, a research assistant with The Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) told The Daily Signal that the president’s “failure to secure the southern border has increased encounters of illegals along the northern border,” adding that the crisis is directly affecting the state of New York:
“This is a direct result of him incentivizing illegal immigrants to pour into New York state. His historic southern border crisis forced our northern border patrol agents into no-notice deployments and left our northern border vulnerable.
“Instead of securing the border to end the influx, the Biden administration shipped his problem to New York state by flying illegals in the dead of night to our communities. Now, taxpayer-funded bus rides of illegals from New York City to Canada are going right through my district.
“Our upstate communities cannot bear this burden, and our taxpayers should not have to pay the price.
“House Republicans are committed to a nation that is safe, and we will secure our border to end this crisis that has made every state a border state.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency in October after more than 17,000 illegal aliens were bused to the city.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu told The Daily Signal his state is working to respond to the increase of encounters at the norther border as the “Biden administration has pulled back on northern border personnel and resources.”
“We are requesting a formal ICE delegation agreement with the federal government that would empower and allow our state and local law enforcement the ability to enforce immigration laws and apprehend illegal border crossings at our northern border in the absence of federal support,” he said.
Sununu has “proposed establishing the Northern Border Alliance Fund to make grants available to state, county, and local law enforcement agencies to reduce instances of crimes and illicit activity in close proximity to the Canadian border.” The proposal would cost “roughly [$1.5 million],” according to Sununu.
The spike in encounters at America’s southern border, a record 2.3 million in fiscal 2022 and already more than 870,000 so far this fiscal year, has garnered a great deal of attention from lawmakers and the press alike, but Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) agreed the crisis is not limited to the southern border.
“We are seeing this crisis unfold not only at our southern border, but at our northern border, highlighting the impact the Biden administration’s open-border policies and rhetoric are having in every community,” Newhouse told The Daily Signal.
“It has been made abundantly clear this administration has no clear solutions for our border crisis, so it is up to my colleagues and I to hold them accountable, provide sufficient resources and funding to our Border Patrol agents, stop the flow of illicit fentanyl pouring into our communities, and ensure our federal government will keep our citizens safe,” the congressman said.
The Center for Immigration Studies reported last April that under Biden’s presidency, more than 756,000 illegal migrants had been released into America’s interior, not including more than 146,000 children and an estimated 620,000 got-aways.
“Whether it’s the southern border, northern border, or our airspace,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) said, the latter referring to the unidentifed objects the military has recently shot down over U.S. airspace, “government’s top priority must be to protect our homeland.”
“Biden’s open-border policy makes it clear,” Malliotakis, a member of the Northern Border Caucus, added, “his administration has abdicated its responsibility to keep the American people safe.”