Crime Immigration

Illegal immigrants from 85 countries caught at New England border since fall

The New England region of the U.S.-Canada border has seen a staggering increase in the number of immigrants caught attempting to enter the United States illegally, with people from 85 countries apprehended since last fall. Border Patrol agents in the New Hampshire, Vermont, and eastern upstate New York region intercepted more illegal immigrants in fiscal […]

The New England region of the U.S.-Canada border has seen a staggering increase in the number of immigrants caught attempting to enter the United States illegally, with people from 85 countries apprehended since last fall.

Border Patrol agents in the New Hampshire, Vermont, and eastern upstate New York region intercepted more illegal immigrants in fiscal 2023 than in the previous 11 years combined, but in just the first eight months of 2024, arrests have already surpassed last year’s record, according to Robert Garcia, chief patrol agent of the Swanton Sector in New England.

In May alone, agents in the Swanton Sector apprehended more than 2,900 illegal immigrants — nearly three times more than the 1,065 immigrants arrested in all of 2022.


Agents in the Swanton Sector of the northern border have stopped more than 12,000 illegal immigrants since October 2023.

Earlier this spring, Northern Border Security Caucus co-Chairmen Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Ryan Zinke (R-MT), House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), and other members sent the Biden administration a letter blaming it for the increase in crossings, which they described as “symptomatic of your broader failure to secure the border.”

“Dangerous individuals continue to take advantage of the vast Northern Border, which is the longest land border between two countries in the world, and relatively unguarded by natural barriers,” the lawmakers wrote.

The increase in arrests through winter was of particular concern given that they occurred during the winter months when temperatures are often below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and present major safety challenges to immigrants and law enforcement.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The winter uptick, lawmakers warned, could spell bigger trouble as the temperatures warm up into spring and summer and make it more practical to cross, as the continued rise in arrests through March, April, and May has shown.

Border Patrol data are only publicly available dating back to 2007. Over the past 17 years, arrests across the northern border have ranged from 2,200 to 7,900 per year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics.

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The Swanton Sector makes up nearly 300 miles of the 4,000-mile Canadian border. During winter months, agents use snowmobiles to get through multiple feet of snow in extremely remote areas, even when the temperatures dip to negative double digits during the winter months.

Unlike the southern border, there is no towering steel wall to prevent illegal immigration, and technology to track suspicious activity is not as prevalent compared to the drones, ground sensors, infrared cameras, blimps, and long-range cameras seen on the Mexico border.

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