Vermont, upstate New York continue to see record apprehensions, gotaways

By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square

The northern U.S. border continues to see a record number of apprehensions and gotaways, led by the Swanton Sector, which includes all of Vermont and several upstate New York and New Hampshire counties.

Over the weekend, Swanton Sector Border Patrol agents in Vermont and upstate New York apprehended several groups of illegal foreign nationals trudging through knee-deep snow as they attempted to illegally enter the U.S. from Canada. In one weekend alone, agents caught 94 people from 11 countries, Swanton Sector Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia said on Thursday.

Garcia published a video of one of the groups trudging through the snow as law enforcement agents were waiting, accompanied by patrol cars with flashing red lights.

“This just one of several groups Swanton Sector agents encountered over the snowy weekend,” he said.

“In just over 5 months, we have apprehended more individuals than the last three (3) Fiscal Years combined,” Garcia also said. “The current rate of illicit cross-border activity is unprecedented for Swanton Sector.”

In January, Swanton Sector agents apprehended more people than they did in “12 preceding years of January totals combined,” he said last month. “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.”

While the number of apprehensions pale in comparison to southern border apprehensions, they represent a 743% increase from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, and an 846% increase from Oct. 1, 2022, to Jan. 31, 2023, comparative to those timeframes last year.

February was no different.

In February, Swanton Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended 450 illegal foreign nationals, reported 302 gotaways and 35 who turned back to Canada, according to preliminary data exclusively obtained by The Center Square from a Border Patrol agent. The data excludes Office of Field Operations data and only includes those reported by Border Patrol agents.

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.

To deal with the influx, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it sent 25 additional agents to the northern border on Monday, NBC News reported.

“While the apprehension numbers are small compared to other areas with irregular migration flows, Swanton Sector apprehensions constitute a large change in this area,” a CBP spokesperson told NBC News. “The deployed team will serve as a force multiplier in the region and assist to deter and disrupt human smuggling activities being conducted in the Swanton Sector area of responsibility.”

Law enforcement officials have explained to The Center Square, which first started reporting on an influx at the northern border last year, that cartel operatives and criminal actors are paying for flights to Canada as a way to move more people into the U.S. illegally from all over the world.

Swanton Sector agents from October 2022 to January 2023 apprehended foreign nationals attempting to illegally enter northern states from at least 19 countries, Garcia previously said.

Scouts – connected to gangs and the cartels – have been observed by Border Patrol agents smuggling people through marshy, wooden terrain and snow and ice from Canada into northern U.S. states. Human smugglers include single military age men from Honduras and other countries, as well as Americans hoping to make several thousand dollars responding to social media ads posted by cartel operatives, law enforcement officials have explained to The Center Square.

“A lot of times, it is in fact a smuggling case, and/or migrants that are looking to be smuggled,” Garcia told My Champlain Valley News.

Last month, Garcia warned people not to try to illegally enter during dangerous, subfreezing temperatures. “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,” he said. “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

3 thoughts on “Vermont, upstate New York continue to see record apprehensions, gotaways

  1. Where’s potato head bidens Border Czar? Oh yeah she’s promoting Venn diagrams and electric yellow school buses in Africa… One can only hope she gets a fatal disease from a tsetse fly and puts her out of our misery. How are these people getting thru madam trudeaus immigration service? He had no problem stopping his counties protesters from reaching Ottawa but can’t contain invaders of Canada?

  2. This invasion ; these millions of illegal aliens entering our borders each year since Biden moved into the White House…..all on purpose. Changing the face of America. All part of Obama’s dream to ” fundamentally change America ” . They are starting with people who have no appreciation of our history, our culture. They are here to take. They are just another class of low life dependent on government to take care of them. More Democrat supporters. Thank Leahy, Sanders, and Welch when you think illegal aliens. And be sure to thank your Democrat ‘friends’ who voted for this !!!!

  3. You can all thank the feckless ” Biden ” administration for the travesty,
    If liberals want these illegals, they better start housing them, they talk
    a good game, but they won’t, they know most are criminals………….

    What, yes if they are here illegally, they are criminals !!

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