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Increase in unlawful northern border crossings alarms residents

(NewsNation) —  Communities along the northern U.S. border with Canada are sounding a new alarm over a significant increase in people illegally crossing into the United States.

Officials say the number of people they are encountering within the Swanton Sector, which covers Vermont as well as counties in New York and New Hampshire, are up by 118% this fiscal year from last year.

April numbers eclipsed FY21 and FY22 combined, according to Swanton Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Robert Garcia. As of Thursday, there have been nearly 2,000 encounters in May alone. Last year, there were 365 during the same time period.

“The question is how much of it, how many ‘gotaways’ are there, so to speak?” Garcia asked.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, there were a total of 16,750 migrant encounters along the entire northern border in April, an 18.5% increase from April 2023. Since October — the start of the 2024 fiscal year — there have been more than 108,000 encounters along the entire northern border, roughly four times as many as there were in all of fiscal year 2021.

Encounters along the northern border have increased each year since 2021.

Border walls have not been constructed along the northern border, unlike its southern counterpart. 

While concrete barriers are starting to be built in the area, these are meant to stop cars, not necessarily people.

In the Champlain area of New York, the busiest part of the Swanton Sector, one mom told NewsNation she won’t let her kids go outside without supervision because of the spike in crossings. Christina Wimble, who runs a day care in the area, says she and others have seen many people walking freely through the front of their yard. 

“They don’t have a handle on it,” Wimble said. “It wouldn’t be happening if they had a handle on it. I don’t feel safe with my kids being outside by themselves. I’m constantly outside or I’m looking at my windows, because they’re little. They can’t protect themselves.”

Border Patrol sources confirmed to NewsNation that things have slowed down a little since some agents from the southern part of the country, namely Texas’ Del Rio Sector, came up to the northern border to help out.

These sources say they’re trying to get agents to come to the northern border, as well as San Diego, as they don’t have enough resources on their own.

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