Even as undocumented immigrants continue to stream across the nation’s southern border at a record rate, a growing number of President Joe Biden’s Republican critics are starting to call attention to an issue along the U.S.-Canada border.
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) highlighted a troubling lack of security on the country’s northern border in a letter he sent to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Reports indicate more than two dozen fellow GOP lawmakers added their names to his advisory.
The warning that the border is “at serious risk” comes on the heels of a staggering report showing that illegal immigration into the U.S. from Canada was 743% higher between October and December than it had been during the same three months the previous year.
Officials working along the Swanton Sector, which includes nearly 300 miles of the U.S.-Canadian border through New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont, reported that the number of encounters and arrests spiked by an astounding 850% over the past year and hit a record high in January.
NEW: Border Patrol leadership is asking for agents to voluntarily deploy to the northern border’s overwhelmed Swanton sector (VT/NH/NY), which has seen an 846% increase in illegal crossings since October, and saw more illegal crossings in January (367) than the previous 12… https://t.co/fx52UmaJsI pic.twitter.com/sb4UnJAWOy
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) February 19, 2023
“This is unprecedented,” declared Robert Garcia, the sector’s chief patrol agent. “These are highs that the Swanton Sector hasn’t seen before. We’re seeing traffic across the entirety of the [Area of Responsibility with] elevated levels in the Eastern New York area as well as the Newport, Vermont area.”
As Kelly, who serves as co-chairman of the Northern Border Security Caucus in the House, explained in a corresponding statement, “the Biden administration’s open-border policies have allowed for a surge in human and drug smuggling across the U.S. Canadian border, the longest international border in the world.”
He went on to assert that the White House “has refused to work for its people,” vowing that he would be “holding them accountable.”
In their letter to Mayorkas, the Republicans wrote that they are “deeply concerned the northern Border Patrol agents will be overwhelmed, under-resourced, and under-manned” as warmer weather leads to predictably higher levels of illegal border crossings this year.
“We ask that you provide a full account of what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will do to mitigate the flow of illegal migrants and illicit drugs into the U.S. across our northern border,” they added.
Caucus co-chair Ryan Zinke (R-MT) explained that the U.S.-Canada border has become attractive to criminals because the “first thing bad guys do is go where the good guys aren’t,” noting that border agents are currently preoccupied with the crisis along the southern border.
Zinke, who previously served as Department of the Interior secretary, said that the newly formed Northern Border Security Caucus “will provide critical oversight and expose the truth to the American people about the nationwide crisis this administration has willingly caused.”