Lost amidst the chaos at the Southwest border is a burgeoning surge of migrants at the Northern border — the international boundary between the United States and Canada. While the number of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Northern border encounters is low compared to the Southwest border, what is happening at the Northern border is still troubling — particularly in the Border Patrol’s Swanton (Vt.) Sector.
On March 28, Andrew Arthur, the Center’s resident fellow in law and policy, testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability within the Committee on Homeland Security. Some Democratic lawmakers, including members of the subcommittee, have claimed that the influx of migrants at the Northern border is a nonissue, but Arthur debunks these claims by demonstrating the national security threats and humanitarian issues resulting from a poorly defended border.
Historically, the majority of aliens turned away at the Northern border have been Canadian nationals, but in FY 2022, the majority of those apprehended were from other countries. Mexican nationals in particular are arriving at the Northern border in higher numbers, largely due to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s lifting of the visa requirement for Mexicans in December of 2016. From FY 2021 to FY 2022, CBP encounters at the U.S.-Canada border increased by 144 percent.
Would-be terrorists have been apprehended at the Northern border, and cartel members and transnational criminal organizations are taking advantage of the already understaffed Northern border to smuggle drugs, guns, and migrants. The border has been further weakened as agents have been moved from the Northern border to address the chaos at the Southern border.