U.S.-Canada border apprehensions of undocumented migrants have risen significantly in the past three months, surpassing the previous two-year total, according to local authorities.
The Swanton Sector, covering New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, has seen a 743% increase in apprehensions between October and December, said Robert Garcia in a press release.
Border Patrol agents detained a record number of individuals in December, 441 from 19 different countries, with 14 returning to Canada and 135 evading capture, mirroring a trend seen at the U.S.-Mexico border where illegal migrant crossings continue to surge.
“Combined apprehensions and encounters in Fiscal Year 2023 have already surpassed that of Fiscal Year 2022 and recent trends represent a sustained increase in illegal border crossings as we head into the harshest winter months,” Garcia added.
The Swanton Sector, covering rural and remote areas with diverse landscapes, becomes more accessible in winter due to frozen bodies of water. However, crossing this border area can be dangerous due to sub-zero temperatures and unpredictable storms.
A recent tragic example involved the discovery of four people from India, including two adults, a teen, and an infant, who perished from hypothermia just 40 feet from the border in North Dakota on January 19th.
"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 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," continued.