Northern Border Vulnerable to Drug Smuggling and Cartels Amid Southern Border Crisis
What You Need To Know:
- The US-Canadian border has experienced a surge of illegal immigration from October 2022 to March 2023, surpassing previous records.
- Law enforcement has apprehended over 3,200 illegal immigrants who entered the US from Canada outside of ports of entry in the 2023 fiscal year, with the Swanton Sector being the most vulnerable area.
- The White House has directed CBP staff to stations near the Canadian border, but Border Patrol has been left scrambling with only 2,000 agents stationed by the Canadian border, leading to concerns about drug smuggling and cartels taking advantage of the situation.
In recent months, the US-Canadian border has experienced a significant increase in illegal immigration, leading to concerns about the vulnerability of the northern border.
From October 2022 to March 2023, law enforcement officials apprehended over 3,200 illegal immigrants who entered the US from Canada outside of ports of entry, which is more than any previous year on record. This surge in illegal immigration has put a strain on law enforcement resources already overwhelmed at the southern border.
According to documents obtained by the Free Beacon, Customs and Border Protection recorded 2,238 migrant encounters on the US-Canadian border in fiscal year 2022, with 916 the previous year.
However, every month of the 2023 fiscal year has been record-breaking for northern illegal border entries, particularly in the Swanton Sector, which includes all of Vermont and counties in New York and New Hampshire that border Canada. More than 60% of all illegal border crossings from Canada have been detected in that sector, making it the most vulnerable area.
The White House has responded to this situation by directing two dozen CBP staff to stations near the Canadian border. However, Border Patrol has been left scrambling, with only roughly 2,000 agents stationed by the Canadian border.
At any given time, just 450 agents are on duty, and they do not have the same resources, such as drones or fencing, as agents in Texas and Arizona. The lack of resources and attention towards the Canada-US border has led to concerns about drug smuggling and cartels taking advantage of the situation.
House Republicans held a hearing on Tuesday about security on the northern border, which featured immigration experts and the Border Patrol union president. Both Republicans and witnesses alleged that cartels and other smugglers are taking advantage of a lack of attention towards the Canada-US border as immigration authorities grapple with the unprecedented flood of illegal aliens coming from Mexico.
“Excluding marijuana, drug smuggling seizure weight increased by nearly 600 percent along the northern border from fiscal year 2021 to fiscal year 2022,” Rep. Mike Kelly (R, Penn.) wrote in a letter ahead of the hearing.
Among the drugs seized by authorities last year were 14 pounds of fentanyl, which experts estimate is enough to kill over 3 million people.