Illegal immigration at the northern border has increased in recent months, despite President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau making a deal in March to crack down on the influx of migrants crossing into the U.S.
As part of the deal, authorities at the U.S.-Canadian border must return migrants who cross illegally to make their asylum claims either to Canada or the U.S. However, Border Patrol encounters of migrants crossing illegally into the U.S. have only increased in recent months, jumping to 1,154 in July and all the way up to 1,521 in October, according to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.
For a short time after the deal, Border Patrol encounters of migrants crossing the northern border illegally into the U.S. decreased from 992 in March to 977 in April, 803 in May and 844 in June, according to CBP data.
A Border Patrol agent working along the northern border told the DCNF that they’ve seen “record” crossings in recent months. Removals don’t serve as much of a deterrent to migrants “because they’ll likely try again,” the agent, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly, added.
The deal still allows some illegal migrants to be released into the U.S. if they present a “credible fear” of return to their home country, according to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo previously obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. If the individual is determined to have a legitimate credible fear, they can be released into the U.S. with a future court date, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which granted roughly 58% of credible fear claims referred to the agency in fiscal year 2022.
“We’re still open under this shell game allowing them to claim credible fear,” Sean Walsh, National Border Patrol Council President for the Swanton sector, which covers parts of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, previously told the DCNF.
The Swanton Sector has seen 550% increase in illegal crossings compared to 2022, with 6,925 apprehensions from 79 different countries, the agency said in November.
The deal set out to deter illegal crossings, but that’s not something Border Patrol and local residents are seeing.
“At the current pace the 2024 numbers … will exceed those of 2023,” David Favro, sheriff of Clinton County, New York, told the DCNF.
Northern Border resident Dan Cowan says things have only gone from bad to worse in his area since the deal came to fruition. The DCNF visited Cowan’s property in February when he described how the community was “living on edge.”
EXCLUSIVE from our northern border:
Residents living in an area of the northern border known as the Swanton sector, which encompasses parts of New York and Vermont, are fed up over the local impacts of an influx in illegal migration that has resulted in https://t.co/8rq5MElqgm… pic.twitter.com/SVeIIt2pP7
— Jennie Taer 🇮🇱🇺🇸 (@JennieSTaer) March 6, 2023
“It is worse now than a year ago,” Cowan told the DCNF Thursday.
“I am sitting in my tree stand and I had a group of six or seven illegals run by me into the U.S.,” Cowan said.
While the northern border sees a surge in illegal immigration, illegal crossings at the southern border remain at record highs, with border officials surpassing two million encounters in both fiscal years 2022 and 2023, according to federal data.
Neither Customs and Border Protection nor the White House responded to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
Jennie Taer on December 10, 2023