Northern states see record border crossings from Canada as migrants exploit low staff and no fencing

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Migrants have crossed the northern border from Canada into New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire in record numbers over the past year. They have reportedly taken advantage of low staff and lack of fencing in the region, according to the New York Post.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection data revealed that more than 12,200 migrants were caught illegally crossing the Canadian border last year, representing a sharp spike in attempted crossings from the year before, when just over 3,500 were arrested.

Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia took to X, writing: “Since October 1, 2023, Swanton Sector Border Patrol Agents have apprehended more than 3,100 subjects from 55 countries (more than Fiscal Years 2022, 21, 20 & 19 combined). Photo: An early morning apprehension of 4 adult males from Bangladesh on February 1, near Mooers, New York.”

The Post reported that around 70% of the crossings took place along the Swanton Sector, which covers New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Additionally, migrants who can afford to pay for a flight from Mexico City or Cancun to Toronto or Montreal are doing so, realizing that they would be less likely to be stopped in trying to cross into the U.S.

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Migrants can easily find wooded areas on their way to the northern states. However, the New York Times reported that one concern is that those venturing across the border risk freezing to death on their way to freedom.

Janet McFetridge, the mayor of the small village of Champlain, New York, said she keeps knit hats and gloves in her vehicle to hand out to migrants who have made it into the U.S., according to the New York Times.

“The weather is so severe you just can’t survive,” McFetridge said. “Border Patrol is working extremely hard to save people’s lives because that’s what it’s come down to.”

However, some people residing along the border are apprehensive about the number of people coming across.

Dale Tetreault, 57, who is a third-generation dairy farmer, said that three Guatemalan migrants crossed into the U.S. and took shelter in one of his milk houses. One of Tetreault’s workers, who is Latin American, spoke with the migrants in Spanish, and they said they had just crossed into the U.S. from Canada and were looking for work.

“I understand where they’re coming from and how horrible it has to be to make that kind of venture to get here, to try to find a place where you can find a good life,” Mr. Tetreault said.

“But on the other side, it’s like, I’m not going to accidentally house the wrong people, either, you know what I mean? It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Officials in New Hampshire are reportedly trying to come up with a plan to put a stop to the border crossings with a bill that would allow landowners to put up “no trespassing” signs on open spaces.

Doing so would permit law enforcement to arrest undocumented migrants for criminal trespassing.

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