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Vermont’s border continues to see all-time record illegal crossings

By Bethany Blankley, for The Center Square,


(The Center Square) – Despite being stretched thin and understaffed, Border Patrol agents at the northern border continue to apprehend a record number of illegal border crossers.


In the busiest northern border sector of Swanton, Border Patrol agents made history by apprehending the greatest number of illegal border crossers in sector history of 1,109 in March, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. While the numbers are significantly lower than those apprehended at the southwest border, they are out of the ordinary for the northern border and its busiest sector. By comparison, agents apprehended 37 illegal border crossers in March 2021.



Those they apprehended in March 2024 came from 40 countries. The top three nationalities of those apprehended were India (408), Bangladesh (323) and Mexico (170), Swanton Sector Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia said.


In one week, from April 28 to May 4, agents apprehended 492 illegal border crossers, more than the total apprehensions for all of fiscal 2021 of 365, Garcia said.


In the previous week, Champlain Border Patrol agents apprehended 220 illegal border crossers, “the highest number ever encountered in a single week in Swanton Sector history,” Garcia said.


Swanton Sector Border Patrol agents are breaking records every month, apprehending double or triple the number of people they apprehended in the same month in previous years. The CBP fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.


In October 2023, Swanton Sector agents apprehended 1,075 illegal border crossers, up from 334 in October 2022, 43 in October 2021, and 25 in October 2020.


The Swanton Sector spans 295 miles of international boundary with the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, of which 203 miles is on land. The remaining 92 miles of border fall primarily along the St. Lawrence River. The sector is the first international land boundary east of the Great Lakes.


The sector includes all of Vermont, six upstate New York counties and three New Hampshire counties.


In fiscal 2023, Swanton Sector Border Patrol agents broke previous records by apprehending the greatest number of illegal border crossers in sector history of more than 6,700 foreign nationals from 76 countries, The Center Square exclusively reported. Those who evaded capture, known as gotaways, totaled at least 3,745, more than half of the apprehensions, according to data obtained by The Center Square.


Garcia has long praised the relationship Border Patrol agents have with local residents. He says residents have been instrumental in identifying suspicious activity that has led to apprehensions.


In the first six months of fiscal 2024, Border Patrol agents working in all sectors along the northern border apprehended 91,408 illegal border crossers – the greatest number in U.S. history for that time period, The Center Square first reported.


This is after in the first quarter of fiscal 2024, the greatest number of illegal border crossers were apprehended at the northern border, more than 60,600, the most ever for that time period in U.S. history, The Center Square first reported.


By comparison, in fiscal 2021, 27,180 illegal crossers were apprehended at the northern border. After Biden administration policies were implemented, that number increased dramatically to 109,535 in fiscal 2022, and to 189,402 in fiscal 2023. Fiscal 2024 numbers are on track to surpass those numbers.


The U.S.-Canada border is the longest international border in the world of 5,525 miles. Unlike the U.S.-Mexico border, there are no border walls or similar barriers separating the U.S. from Canada and most of the northern border is unmanned and unpatrolled.


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