Border apprehensions trend upward in the Swanton Sector

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 11:42 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - More people are getting arrested at the northern border than ever. This uptick is taking place specifically in the Swanton sector. That area covers Vermont and a portion of New York.

U.S Customs and Border Protection tells me the number of apprehensions there is up 587% from last year. Not only are they worried about it from a legal perspective, but there’s also a humanitarian concern.

“The area is dangerous,” said Patrol Agent in Charge in Burke, New York, Richard Parker. He says there are better and legal ways to cross the border. “Don’t get involved with these alien smuggling organizations. They aren’t here to help you. They’re here to make money and they don’t care about the cargo they’re moving, and they consider these people cargo.”

Since the start of the year there’s been 722 apprehensions in the Swanton sector. That’s significantly more than the 108 they had made at this time last year. Parker says the uptick started around May.

“Subjects at post arrest interviews say their belief is it’s safer to cross up here than the southwest border, it’s less dangerous, and that there’s less of a law enforcement present on the northern border,” Parker said. But he says none of that is true. Agents are out 24/7. Technology also keeps a watchful eye. “Examples would be ground sensors, remote cameras, remote surveillance system, and even unmanned aerial systems,” Parker said.

Ryan Brissette, a public affairs officer for UCBP, says they’ve been doing outreach about the dangers of illegal border crossing, specifically over the winter months. He says they want to avoid a tragedy like what happened in North Dakota earlier this year, where four Indian nationals died after human smugglers left them to freeze in a blizzard.

“It’s not something we want to see. We’re hoping we can deter people or try to make sure they’re safe,” Brissette said.

Data from UCBP shows most migrants trying to enter are from Mexico or Guatemala. “The best thing to do is to not come here and try to cross illegally,” Parker said. “It’s a lot safer and there’s legal means to enter the country.”

Those apprehended will face a variety of fates, some including criminal charges.