U.S. border agents in Vermont report sharp increase in activity
Despite frigid mid-winter temperatures, a U.S. Border Patrol station in Vermont is reporting 367 apprehensions and encounters in January, including family groups with young children and infants. The January numbers are more than the combined January apprehensions at that station spanning the last 12 years.
The U.S. Border Patrol's Swanton Sector, which is based in Swanton, Vermont and is responsible for a 2,200 square mile area, also reported Monday that it has experienced seven straight months of "encounter increases," part of a trend that the border patrol said dates back to 2021.
"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," Swanton Sector Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia said in a statement. "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 said encounters and apprehensions are up 846 percent between Oct. 1, 2022 and Jan. 31, 2023, compared to the same period a year prior, with fiscal 2023 apprehensions and encounters already surpassing the two previous fiscal years combined.
Agents in December also led search-and-rescue efforts, providing life-saving aid in separate incidents occurring in Newport, Vermont, and Burke, New York.
Massachusetts and other states have been seeing a steady influx of migrants, and state officials and legislators are grappling with the associated increased demand for public services and the cost of those services.
The Swanton Sector is responsible for securing the land border between ports of entry in Vermont, New Hampshire, and northeastern New York.