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U.S. Saw More Migrants Encountered at Northern Border This Year Than The Past 11 Years Combined

Border Patrol agent calls it 'a flood we had never seen before'

U.S. Saw More Migrants Encountered at Northern Border This Year Than The Past 11 Years Combined

Border Patrol agents on the U.S. northern border with Canada are seeing record numbers of encounters with illegal aliens as concern over border security and illegal migration remains a pressing issue for Americans.

During fiscal year 2023, Vermont’s Swanton Sector saw an unprecedented number of illegal aliens, “surpassing the prior 11 fiscal years combined,” according to Border Patrol Chief Robert Garcia.

“During the first four months of FY24, SWB has doubled the number of apprehensions made during the same period in FY23,” Garcia said in remarks posted to social media platform X.

In fiscal year 2023, Swanton Sector agents apprehended about 7,000 migrants who illegally entered the U.S. from Canada. More than half came from Mexico and Central America.

A statement published by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that despite sub-freezing temperatures, the Swanton Sector still encountered families with young children, including infants, illegally crossing from Canada into the U.S.

Northern border issues and southern border issues have been called “apples and oranges” by Erik Lavallee, the Border Patrol Agent in Charge of the U.S. Border Patrol Beecher Falls Station in Vermont.

However, the latest crisis marks “a flood we had never seen before. It was an exponential shift, something we were not expecting and it just hit us hard,” Lavallee recently told CBS News.

Lavallee attributed the unexpected surge to a change in Canada’s foreign policy. Until recently, he said, Canada did not require Mexicans and some other foreign nationals to have travel visas to enter the country.

"For a very minimal fee, they would be able to enter the country as a tourist," Lavallee told CBS. "Some folks, utilizing the ETA program, were being arrested here in the United States for illegal entry within 24 hours of their landing in Canada."

In February, Canada changed course and enacted new requirements for travel authorization and a visa requirement for Mexican citizens. He added that some migrants now employ a different strategy for entering the U.S., compared to those at the U.S. southern border.

"Here, we're not seeing the same prevalence of individuals requesting either asylum or wanting to be caught. The people here that we're seeing for the most part, they're trying to find that seam. They're trying to find that vulnerability and come into the United States without detection," Lavallee said.

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