Immigration Officials Report Skyrocketing Illegal Northern Border Crossings

By Allan Stein

Thousands of miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border, another illegal immigrant crisis is playing out at the northern boundary with Canada.

Illegal crossings along the 5,525-mile northern border increased nearly seven-fold over the past three years under the Biden administration.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency apprehended 189,401 illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Canada border in 2023, an increase of 79,867 over the previous year.

In 2021, CBP recorded 27,180 illegal crossings. As of Feb. 13, 2024, there were more than 60,000 border apprehensions.

“Analysts believe the route has become increasingly popular among wealthier migrants who want to avoid the more chaotic and dangerous conditions on the southern border,” the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail reported.

“The northern border also faces a disproportionately high number of crossings by people on the United States terror watchlist, official figures reveal.”

The U.S. Border Patrol Swanton Sector spans 24,000 square miles at the border with Canada. It includes all of Vermont and several counties in New Hampshire and New York State.

The 295-mile Swanton Sector is also home to sprawling forests and swampland that are treacherous to illegal crossings during the winter months.

CBP reported apprehensions in the Swanton Sector skyrocketed from 365 in 2021 to 6,925 in 2023, a six-fold increase over the 1,065 made in 2022.

In the first six weeks of 2024, CBP had already intercepted 3,192 illegal immigrants across the sector.

In a previous Epoch Times report, several business owners in the Swanton Sector said the problem was only getting worse as illegals made use of their lobbies seeking warmth from the cold.

Many illegal border crossers bound for metropolitan areas such as Boston and New York were flush with cash and cell phones and found rides were easily obtainable from U.S. citizens for a price.

Illegal immigrants are caught walking through the snow in the Swanton Sector in this recent U.S. Border Patrol photograph. (U.S. Border Patrol photo)

Steve Slepcevic, CEO of disaster management company Strategic Response Partners, said the less publicized U.S.-Canada border crisis is no less severe.

In conversations with law enforcement, Mr. Slepcevic told The Epoch Times that he’s shocked at “how porous the border is.”

“Just walk into a [border] town. There’s no border control. It’s way easier, and [law enforcement] is seeing a huge influx coming through the area,” Mr. Slepcevic added.

“I think it’s serious, but it’s not as bad as what’s coming across the southern border.”

Along the 1,951-mile U.S.-Mexico border, CBP apprehended 1,231,213 illegal immigrants in 2023.

Mr. Slepcevic said that many of the interceptions were for military-age men, including gang members, whom he described as a “Trojan horse.”

On Feb. 1, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported the arrest of a Honduran national and member of the “notorious 18th Street gang” after he tried to reenter the United States following six previous deportations.

“This unlawfully present Honduran gang member represents a significant threat to the residents of our New England neighborhoods,” said ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Boston Field Office Director Todd M. Lyons.

The headquarters of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector in Swanton, Feb. 10, 2020. (The Canadian Press/AP-Wilson Ring)

“Not only is he a self-admitted member of a violent criminal enterprise, but he has also repeatedly defied U.S. immigration laws in order to flee some serious charges in his home country.”

News outlets have also reported gangs charging $6,000 to sneak other illegal immigrants into the country from across the border with Canada.

Mr. Slepcevic sees it as a worsening domestic security threat since illegal border crossers of military age could easily procure weapons in the black market.

“The problem is we have a lot of guns in America. You don’t need to invade our country. You spark a situation, and no one knows who’s shooting and who’s shooting at whom,” he said.

Moreover, he said these young men easily slip under the radar once past the border.

“They’re not showing up at the hotels and migrant centers once they clear,” Mr. Slepcevic said. “It’s everywhere. They don’t have to [procure firearms]. It’s already here.”

A family of three is escorted to a police vehicle by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer after they illegally crossed the U.S.-Canada border into Canada, Feb. 23, 2017, in Hemmingford, Quebec. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Mr. Slepcevic said the lack of proper vetting of illegal immigrants makes the domestic situation even more dangerous in a presidential election year.

“The sad thing is that when it shows its ugly face, we’re going to know it,” he said.

“We need secure borders. We need to vet the people coming in. These guys are coming in with no IDs. They shred any paperwork they have before crossing the border. They name themselves whatever they want to.”

The Epoch Times reached out to the CBP for comment but received no response by publication time.

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