The U.S. Border Patrol transferred several agents to different locations on the U.S.-Canada border after the region saw a surge in undocumented migrants attempting to cross into the country from the north.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reassigned 25 agents from the southern border to the Swanton Sector of the U.S.-Canada border, which includes Vermont and parts of New York and New Hampshire, according to a source familiar with the move.
“While the apprehension numbers are small compared to other areas with irregular migration flows, Swanton Sector apprehensions constitute a large change in this area,” the CBP spokesperson said.
“The deployed team will serve as a force multiplier in the region and assist to deter and disrupt human smuggling activities being conducted in the Swanton Sector area of responsibility,” it added.
The number of migrant encounters in the Swanton Sector, which has a 203-mile land border and a 92-mile water border, has significantly increased by 846% in the past fiscal year.
Since October, when the current fiscal year began, there have been more than 1,513 crossings, compared to the 1,065 migrants encountered in the entire Fiscal Year 2022. In January alone, Border Patrol agents apprehended more undocumented migrants than in the past 12 Januarys.
The surge comes as many migrants, predominantly from Mexico, are opting to fly from Mexico to Canada and then attempting to cross into the U.S. from the north, where authorities are less likely to turn them away.
However, Border Patrol agents have warned that the conditions in the northern border at this time of year can pose many risks to the migrants, given the sector’s sub-freezing temperatures and winter weather.
“As we progress deeper into winter and continue to address the ongoing pace of illicit cross-border traffic, the level of concern for the lives and welfare of our Border Patrol Agents and those we are encountering — particularly vulnerable populations — continues to climb,” said U.S. Swanton Sector Patrol Chief Agent Robert Garcia.
“It cannot be stressed enough: not only is it unlawful to circumvent legal means of entry into the United States, but it is extremely dangerous, particularly in adverse weather conditions, which our Swanton Sector has in incredible abundance,” he added.