Officials from the US Border Patrol's Swanton Sector, which includes Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire, say the first three months of Fiscal Year 2023, October - January, have seen a 743 percent increase in illegal crossings compared to the same period of the previous year.
"Combined apprehensions and encounters in Fiscal Year 2023 have already surpassed that of Fiscal Year 2022," Customs and Border Protection stated in a press release, warning that "recent trends represent a sustained increase in illegal border crossings as we head into the harshest winter months."
Snow and temperatures at or below freezing are commonplace in the region during January and February, leading an increased risk of hypothermia to those unprepared for the climate.
"Environmental challenges, coupled with the sharp increase in illicit cross-border traffic, generate great concern for the potential loss of human life," the CBP continued, lamenting the fact that, "Swanton Sector Border Patrol continues to encounter family groups with children (aged as young as a few months old) crossing uncertain terrain in single-digit (Fahrenheit) temperatures."
The CBP added that migrants' decision to make the journey not only puts them and their families at risk, but agents as well, who are forced to venture out into the wilderness to track people down.
"Swanton Sector's greatest concern in carrying out our mission of border security is the preservation of life—the lives of community residents we are sworn to protect, the lives of our Border Patrol Agents carrying out the mission day-in and day-out in the field, and the lives of the individuals, families, and children we are charged with apprehending as they attempt to circumvent legal processes for entry," Swanton Sector Chief Patrol Agent Robert N. Garcia said.
"Unfortunately, the transnational criminal organizations that stand to profit from the increased flow of human traffic care only about profits and have no concern for the welfare of those whose plight they seek to exploit for financial gain."
Officials from other border regions along the 49th Parallel have echoed the Swanton Sector's concerns, noting that crossings have been up across the board.
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