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OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 12:52 PM – Friday, March 17, 2023
On the border between New York and Canada, local sheriffs are calling for the United States Border Patrol to increase their presence due to the growing migrant crisis.
The number of illegal border crossings in the area, and all along the northern border, is almost ten times what it was at the beginning of 2022. Concerns are also expressed over the frigid temperatures along the border, which puts crossers in danger of freezing to death.
Between the beginning of October and the end of February, an estimated 2,000 migrants crossed from Canada into New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. A dramatic increase from the number of crossings at the same time in 2022 which was around 200.
The migrants crossing the northern border were mainly coming from Mexico. When migrants were blocked from crossing the southern border, they believed that it would be easier to cross from Canada. They then traveled to Canada, which does not require a visa before crossing down into the U.S. to reunite with family members.
Clinton County, New York Sheriff David Favro’s team had assisted Border Patrol agents in rescuing over 39 migrants between March 11th and 13th. Some of the migrants reportedly had their clothes frozen to their bodies due to the frigid temperatures.
Sheriff Favro has said that rescues of that sort have taxed the resources of his department. He has called on more Border Patrol officers to be sent to the northern border since his department is already stretched thin covering a population of around 80,000, and sharing about 30 miles of border with Canada.
“We are seeing more and more people, and it can be a deadly terrain if you’re not familiar with it,” Favro said. “The only way to really be able to cover and protect [the northern border] is boots on the ground.”
Since Friday, March 10th, the border patrol has added 25 more agents to the Swanton Sector to deter illegal crossing. However, locals like Sheriff Favro, are saying that it is not enough and more manpower is needed.
According to Border Patrol officials, the Swanton Sector has been the busiest site on the northern border. Across all eight sectors along the northern border, the Swanton Sector has seen more than 67% of the total crossings.
The United Sates’ northern border is the longest international land border in the world. The 5,000-miles boundary line includes the U.S. and Canada border, as well as Alaska’s land boundaries. The 5,000-mile border has roughly 2,000 Border Patrol agents staffing it, compared to the 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico, which has over 16,000 CBP agents.
Mooers Fire Chief Todd Gumlaw said that he recently helped rescue two Mexican migrant women who had gotten stuck in an icy swamp. Authorities were able to render first aid, and transport the women to a hospital to be treated for frostbite and hypothermia.
“Preservation of human life is first and foremost with my department,” the fire chief said.
Locals within the Mooers-Champlain area have also been impacted by the increased number of migrant crossings.
A local Mooers resident said that she has had migrants show up at her doorstep and expressed her concern for the safety of her kids and family and is now saving up for security cameras.
“It’s not something I would usually do,” April Barcomb told NBC News. “But it makes me think twice. And with the kids and the family, I gotta install cameras.”
“People are scared,” a Champlain County resident said during an interview. “It’s the fear of the unknown. They’re [neighbors] worried about their safety, because they don’t know these people.”
On Monday, Governor Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) sent a letter to Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging him to increase the enforcement of the 51-mile stretch of border that his state shares with Canada, or allow local authorities to do so.
“The Biden Administration has cut funding and hindered the state’s ability to assist in patrolling the northern border,” the letter read. “If the Biden Administration truly believes that securing the border is a priority, I hope you will partner with the State of New Hampshire to make this a reality.”
Sununu has also requested $1.4 million in his latest budget proposal to create a Border Alliance Program which would establish a task force dedicated to control the illegal immigration in his state.
Along with illegal crossings, northern Border Patrol agents have also been seizing large amounts of narcotics that are making their way into the country from Canada.
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz reported that over 1,500 pounds of narcotics were seized in a single week as they were being smuggled along the northern border into Buffalo.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Border Patrol so far have made no reply to the Governor’s requests, instead officials claim that the recently sent agents will help deter migration.
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