Canada Sees Record Crossings As Illegal Immigrants See US Northern Border As 'Plan B'

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While most rational Americans will agree that, under President Joe Biden, the U.S. southern border is a disaster. Every year of the Biden presidency has been a record-setting year of border crossings by illegal immigrants. But while all of our attention has rightly been on the southern border, things are not getting any better on the northern border of the U.S. either. It appears that, for immigrants who are intent on breaking into the United States, if crossing the southern border is too difficult — hard to believe — there is always the U.S. northern border.

The most recent data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), show that more than 12,200 illegal immigrants were apprehended in 2023 crossing into the U.S. from Canada. That is up from 2022, when just 3,578 illegal immigrants were caught at the northern border. And much like the southern border, there is one popular crossing spot where roughly 70 percent of illegal immigrants have made their way down from the North — the 295-mile Swanton sector, which includes upstate New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Robert Garcia is the chief agent for that sector and talks about several similarities between crossings at both the southern and northern borders. As we see along the southern border, people from many different countries are attempting to enter the U.S. Garcia says that 3,100 people from 55 different countries have entered the country in this sector. Also, residents who live along the northern border see immigrants walking through fields and backyards and find them taking shelter in outbuildings on their property. Another similarity with the southern border is gang members crossing into the U.S., repeatedly. RedState’s Ben Kew recently reported the apprehension by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of a member of the dangerous 18th Street gang from Honduras who had already been deported six times. 

Many of the immigrants who don’t want to risk the extremely dangerous trip through the Darien Gap in Panama manage to travel to Mexico, and can afford a $350 one-way plane ticket to Montreal or Toronto, where they then cross the northern border. The northern U.S. border is longer than the southern, and because so much of the immigration focus is on the southern border, many of the ports of entry are understaffed. And as attention is centered on building a wall on the southern border, the northern border is largely just wooded areas and dirt paths. 

This time of year, however, there is another big problem — weather. As temperatures drop, hypothermia becomes an issue, and several illegals have been found frozen to death. Since October of 2022, Border Patrol has done 15 rescue missions of 37 immigrants. Clinton County New York Sheriff David Favro says that immigrants become easily disoriented in freezing dark woods and fall into frozen ponds or streams. Most of the illegal immigrants at the northern border are coming in through ports of entry and requesting asylum, but human smugglers have also found the ease of trafficking immigrants through the northern border as well. 

Yet another similarity with the southern border is frustrated politicians and other officials. Billy Jones, a Democrat New York Assemblyman who represents Clinton County, New York, said, “The northern border has pretty much been ignored.” He also echoed his southern border counterparts and added that the federal government is “failing on immigration, and they’re failing the people that live along the border.” Republican New Hampshire State Sen. Carrie Gendreau is pushing back on a proposal by her Democrat colleagues that would end funding for the state’s Northern Border Alliance. In a statement, Gendreau said, 

“I could understand why the folks in Concord or Manchester wouldn’t understand what we go through up here unless they’ve been up here and have walked the woods and seen the, I mean, thousands of acres.”

New Hampshire Senate Democrats put out their own statement, calling issues at the northern border “non-existent.” But residents who live along the northern border a bit further west in Neche, North Dakota, may disagree. In fiscal year 2023, Border Patrol reported 300 illegal immigrant apprehensions in that area. On February 6, 15 immigrants were apprehended, and more recently, 19 others were stopped by Border Patrol, all of them families from Romania who had come into the U.S. and were trying to get back into Canada illegally.

While President Joe Biden has attempted to blame mass illegal immigration at the southern border on Republicans, it may just be Canadian politicians who come to the rescue. Politicians in Canada are considering authorizing a visa requirement for those traveling from Mexico. 

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