Migrants passing into the U.S. by illegal means via Swanton, Vermont have escalated massively in recent months.
Between October and January, apprehensions and encounters at the Canadian border have jumped nearly 850% compared to the same four months a year ago, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Swanton sector.
During the month of January there were 367 encounters, more than the past 12 years of January totals combined, said Ryan Brissette in a press release for the Swanton border patrol.
The number of border patrol encounters in Swanton started to climb in July 2022. During the seven-month window through January 2023, there have been 2,070 instances of illegal crossings. In that same period, there were 258 the year prior and 225 the year before that.
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The uptick is causing problems for officials, especially considering dangerously cold temperatures that have put border crossers’ and border control agents’ lives at risk. Brissette noted -4 degree temperatures and “life-saving aid” that was provided during encounters in Newport, Vermont, and Burke, New York. Seven Days reported the death of a Mexican man over the weekend, though it wasn’t clear at the time what contributed to his death.
“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,” Swanton Sector Chief Patrol Agent Robert N. Garcia said in a press release.
Who is crossing the Vermont-Canadian border
There are no clear-cut answers as to why people are crossing as the circumstances differ for each person or group, said Steven Bansbach, a public affairs officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Many are being dropped off near the border by car and then proceeding across land on foot, he said.
Among the border crossers are family groups that include infants and children who are particularly vulnerable to the cold. Bansbach said many are crossing at night while cold and sleep deprived, all of which can be disorienting.
Border patrol usually detains, arrests and sends those apprehended back to where they came from, according to Bansbach.
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Looking at the countries of origin of encounters involving the border patrol in Swanton, a vast majority are from Mexico. Among the 1,513 encounters from October through January, 945 originated from Mexico. “They may be trying to find a path of least resistance to enter into the U.S.,” Bansbach surmised. “And they may know there’s a conundrum at the southwest border and so they may find that the northern border they may sneak across to have a better advantage.”
The U.S.’s southern border has been a point of contention, from border walls, to the separation of children and parents, to immigrants being caught up in political brinkmanship being shipped from southern states to northern ones, in some cases dropped off on a political opponent’s doorstep.
When asked how migrants from Mexico are circumventing much of the continent to get to Canada and entering the U.S. from there, Bansbach didn’t have an answer.
Neither did he know whether any border crossers were intending to stay in Vermont or if the state was a pass-through to other parts of the U.S.
“These are questions I don’t have answers to, and anything I would say would be speculation,” he said.
Source : Burlington Free Pass