Apprehensions and encounters by the U.S. Border Patrol in the northern Swanton Sector—ports of entry in Vermont, New Hampshire, and northeastern New York—have skyrocketed by over 800 percent this fiscal year, with Mexicans making up the majority of illegal individuals attempting to enter the United States from Canada.
In January 2023, CBP officials at the Swanton Sector registered 367 apprehensions and encounters, surpassing the January apprehensions of the past 12 years, which totaled 344. For the fiscal year-to-date from October 2022 to January 2023, there has been a huge 846 percent increase in encounters and apprehensions compared to the same period in fiscal year 2022.
While 1,513 encounters were recorded in FY 2023 until January 2023, the agency only saw 160 encounters in the prior term. Before January 2023, the Swanton Sector had experienced a “uninterrupted 7-month streak of sustained encounter increases,” according to a Feb. 13 press release. The surge was part of an upward trend dating back to fiscal year 2022.
Total apprehensions and encounters for FY 2023 have already exceeded the total of 2022 and 2021 combined, which came in at 1,430. Mexicans form the largest nationality of immigrants in the Swanton Sector. Out of the 367 apprehensions in January, 192 were from Mexico. Haitians came in second with 36 apprehensions, and 14 from Guatemala. For FY 2023 to date, 945 out of the 1,513 encounters have been of Mexican citizens, which is up from 518 in the entirety of FY 2022, 57 in 2021, and 156 in 2020.
The rise in Swanton border apprehensions is happening despite temperatures in the region hitting -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Officials are encountering families, including infants, illegally crossing into the United States in such freezing weather. Swanton Sector Chief Patrol Agent Robert N. Garcia warned against attempts to illegally cross the border.
Despite a massive rise in the number of illegal crossings in the Swanton sector, the 1,513 encounters in fiscal 2023 to date only represent a small portion of the total illegal migration in the United States. In the Southwest land border, CBP officials encountered 874,449 illegal immigrants in fiscal 2023 till January. This is up from 673,809 encounters in the same period in 2022 and 296,450 in 2021. The 2023 numbers are almost double the 458,088 encounters in the entirety of 2020.
There has also been a significant jump in Chinese and Russian illegal immigrants trying to cross into the United States from Mexico. In FY 2023, the CBP has already encountered 1,915 Chinese nationals in the first three months compared to 4,394 during the previous three fiscals combined. Encounters of Russian individuals in fiscal 2023 was at 17,298 compared to 26,333 encounters for the previous three years.
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