Local authorities and state governments in the northeast U.S. are asking the federal government for more help as they deal with an influx of illegal immigrants crossing from Canada into the U.S.
Between October 1, 2022, and February 28 of this year, around 2,000 Mexican migrants illegally crossed the Swanton Sector, a 24,000-square-mile stretch of border between Canada, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Authorities recorded only 200 such crossings during the same time period of the previous year, NBC News reported, and the spike is causing alarm among Americans who live near the northern border.
“People are scared,” a Champlain County, New York, resident said. “It’s the fear of the unknown. They’re [neighbors] worried about their safety, because they don’t know these people.”
Another New York resident told NBC that illegal immigrants have shown up at her home, leading her to set up security cameras.
“It’s not something I would usually do,” she said. “But it makes me think twice. And with the kids and the family, I gotta install cameras.”
Due to Canada changing a policy in 2016, Mexican migrants can fly to the country without visas. The migrants then attempt an illegal crossing from the north instead of trying to walk across the southern U.S. border, believing that will be an easier route to enter America illegally. The northern border only has 2,000 Border Patrol agents for a 5,000-mile stretch while the U.S.-Mexico border has 16,000 agents for 2,000 miles of border, according to NBC.
Attempts to cross the northern border, however, can also be treacherous, especially in the middle of winter. The border along the Swanton Sector is heavily wooded and has limited access to emergency services, Fox News reported. Last month, a Mexican migrant died while attempting to cross into Vermont from Canada.
Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu sent a letter earlier this week to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, requesting more federal agents to assist with the situation at his state’s border with Canada or for permission for state authorities to take more action to stop the illegal crossings.
“The Biden Administration has cut funding and hindered the state’s ability to assist in patrolling the northern border,” Sununu wrote. “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.”
Earlier this month, DHS sent 25 additional Border Patrol agents to the northern border to help states handle the spike in illegal crossings.