Border Patrol agents have reported more apprehensions of undocumented migrants in the U.S.-Canada border in the past three months than in the previous two years combined, authorities said.
Agents in the “Swanton Sector”—made up of New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire—have seen a 743% increase in migrant apprehensions between October 1 and December 31, sector chief Robert Garcia said last week in a press release.
In December alone, Border Patrol agents apprehended more people than ever before, according to the Center Square. At least 441 individuals were detained at the Canadian border from 19 different countries, in addition to 14 who returned to Canada and 135 that evaded the authorities.
“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, which includes several rural and remote areas from mountains to swamps, expands during the winter season when small bodies of water freeze and allow people to cross over them. However, crossing this section of the border can be risky, given the sector’s sub-freezing temperatures and unpredictable storm fronts, Garcia added.
On January 19, for example, Border Patrol agents found two adults, a teen, and an infant from India frozen to death about 40 feet from the border in North Dakota, reported the New York Post.
“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,” he added.