Vermont, New York border patrol sees 864% spike in attempted illegal border crossings

By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square

Border Patrol agents in the Swanton Sector, which includes all of Vermont, continue to apprehend and report record numbers of foreign nationals evading law enforcement after flying to Canada to illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry at the northern border.

In January, the sector saw record-breaking numbers despite area temperatures reaching between -4 and -22 degrees Fahrenheit, Swanton Sector Chief Agent Robert Garcia said.

“Our Border Patrol Agents apprehended 367 subjects in January — MORE than 12 preceding years of January totals COMBINED,” totaling 344, he said.

“Prior to January, Swanton Sector experienced an uninterrupted 7-month streak of sustained encounter increases — part of an upward trend dating back to the beginning of FY22,” he said.

Fiscal year to date, from Oct. 1, 2022, to Jan. 31, 2023, Swanton Sector encounters increased by 846% from the previous fiscal year during the same time frame, he said.

The publicly reported numbers are lower than the preliminary data reported in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s internal system obtained by The Center Square from a Border Patrol agent. In December, 441 foreign nationals were apprehended, according to data; 135 were reported as gotaways and 14 turned back to Canada. Gotaways are those who intentionally enter the U.S. illegally between ports of entry and evade law enforcement.

In January, agents apprehended 420 illegal foreign nationals, reported 244 gotaways, and 11 who turned back to Canada, according to the preliminary data. It excludes Office of Field Operations data and only includes numbers reported by Border Patrol agents.

The Swanton Sector has led the northern border in illicit border crossings over the last year, with agents apprehending people coming from at least 19 countries, Garcia has previously said.

The sector encompasses 24,000 square miles, which in addition to all of Vermont’s border, includes six upstate New York counties and three New Hampshire counties. It spans 295 miles of international boundary with the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, of which 203 miles is on land. The remaining 92 miles of border fall primarily along the St. Lawrence River. The sector is the first international land boundary east of the Great Lakes.

From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, agents saw a 743% increase in apprehensions and encounters compared to the same period last year, Garcia said. That percentage has only increased.

Fiscal 2023 total apprehensions and encounters have already surpassed fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021 combined, Garcia said, consistent with an announcement he made last month.

Despite sub-freezing temperatures, Swanton Sector continues encountering family groups with young children — including infants — he said.

On Feb. 7, he announced that “despite regional temps dropping to -22 last week,” Border Patrol agents patrolling Ogdensburg, New York, to Beecher Falls, Vermont, apprehended 105 people from eight countries. He also published a picture of a “snow-covered group” apprehended near Champlain, New York.

On Feb. 3, he published a photo on Twitter of a family “illegally crossing the border with children,” including an 8-month-old and 2-year-old. They were being carried in the snow in Newport, Vermont, he said, adding, “The risk of hypothermia is high in vulnerable populations.”

On Jan. 31, he reported another dangerous crossing. “Undeterred by hazardous weather: despite recent snowstorms, illegal border crossings have continued into the harshest North Country months,” he said. In one 72-hour period, agents “braved the weather and apprehended 29 subjects from Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Romania,” he said.

Last December, agents led search-and-rescue efforts and provided life-saving aid in Newport, Vermont, and Burke, New York, demonstrating their “priority to preserve life, even at the risk of jeopardizing their own safety,” Garcia said.

He also published photos of footprints in snow on social media, showing where people entered the U.S. illegally in Franklin and West Berkshire, Vermont. Describing them as “well-worn paths,” he said, “the disturbance and damage to pristine North Country environments caused by careless and ILLEGAL cross-border traffic diminishes the safety and natural beauty of our homeland — not to mention private property.”

“As we progress deeper into winter and continue to address the ongoing pace of illicit cross-border traffic, the level of concern for the lives and welfare of our Border Patrol Agents and those we are encountering — particularly vulnerable populations — continues to climb,” Garcia warned. “It cannot be stressed enough: not only is it unlawful to circumvent legal means of entry into the United States, but it is extremely dangerous, particularly in adverse weather conditions, which our Swanton Sector has in incredible abundance.”

Image courtesy of Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia - United States Border Patrol Swanton Sector

4 thoughts on “Vermont, New York border patrol sees 864% spike in attempted illegal border crossings

  1. Somebody in Canada is helping them get to the border and they’re not doing it out of kindness in their heart. Follow the money.

  2. The Canadian government is aiding and abetting these illegal boarder crossers, who’s surprised. Vermont’s saving is that these people will hopefully find the climate not to their liking. It will also give the sanctimonious liberals a taste of their own medicine. At lease conservative Vermonters have enough brains to own firearms and know how to use them. And, you thought Vermont got trashed during the plandemic with all the down country folk coming to escape their states illegal lockdowns, wait until Vermont gets flooded with third worlders and their trashing of the countryside. And I forgot to mention their propensity to have large families and the burden it will place on Vermont’s welfare system, especially after the word gets out.

  3. Vermont is known for being soft on crime all the way to the bottom of South America– why do you think they are coming?
    They are coming because the word on the street is that Vermont tolerates a whole lot of crime!
    So where better to be an illegal or a crook, or a drug dealer- than places that think this is just fine and dandy stuff.
    When you put a pot of honey out there- you get bears!!
    (do they not know this?)

    This reminds me a bit of Mayor Adams in Sanctuary City NYC being surprised-then mad- that busload after busload if illegal aliens were dumped in his city.
    What what did he think that being a “Sanctuary City” meant?
    It means they hung out the “OPEN” Sign for just exactly what they announced they were for: people seeking sanctuary- thousands of them!

    They don’t like being held accountable for their non-stop virtue signaling we can see.
    Yet these are the people telling us that “words matter”.
    But it looks like words only matter when it’s the right saying them.
    When it’s them saying the words they don’t matter as much- funny how that works eh?

    • I think Addams mis-spoke. He meant to say it’s a sanitary city. All the bathrooms are pristine, because nobody uses them, apparently.
      It’s very safe too, unless you ride the subway or walk outdoors.
      That’s why they invented TV and takeout. Going outside is so 20th century.

Comments are closed.