There's Been a Big Spike in People Illegally Crossing Our Northern Border

Posted: Aug 07, 2018 7:30 AM
There's Been a Big Spike in People Illegally Crossing Our Northern Border

Entering the United States illegally is not just an issue along the southern border—it’s increasingly becoming a problem at the U.S.’s northern border as well.

According to a CBS News report, the number of people caught illegally crossing into the U.S. along the border with Canada is up 142 percent since last year.

U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 445 people entering the U.S. from Canada in the first half of 2018 compared to 184 individuals in the same period last year.

Law enforcement is incapable of covering all of the vast northern border, which spans 5,525 miles.

"It's a tough challenge to go ahead and take the limited resources we have and work in such a vast area," Border Patrol Agent Norm Lague told CBS correspondent Don Dahler. 

"The northern border is much more vast," said Lague. "The terrain is very difficult to work in, and we do not have the resources at our disposal that the southern border has," he added. 

Notably, of those apprehended along the northern border, nearly half (1,489) were from Mexico. Mexican citizens don't need a visa to enter Canada, and one-way flights to Toronto and Montreal only cost about $300. Once there, Border Patrol agents say, they can slip into the U.S. 

Many buildings and businesses literally straddle the northern border. At Derby Line, Vermont, a row of flower pots marks the northern border, which actually cuts right through the Haskell Free Library and Opera House. […]

Many official ports of entry, like a floating dock near Lake Champlain, are unmanned at night. Border Patrol agents rely on local residents, patrols and sensors to alert them to possible crossings. 

Thousands of sensors deployed along the border incorporate motion detectors and cameras. When they sense someone coming across, the tricky part is getting a border patrol agent there in time quickly enough to catch them.

Sometimes entering the U.S. is as simple as walking across a 20-foot wide clearing in the woods, or paddling across a lake. And you don't have to check in with anyone. (CBS)

Last year, Border Patrol agents along the northern border apprehended 3,027 people who were in the country illegally. While that figure is nowhere near as high as the number of apprehensions at the southern border, analysts warn the norther border is more susceptible to terrorists crossing into the U.S.

"It's generally agreed that the northern border is more vulnerable to a terrorist sneaking into this country," Porter Fox, author of "Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America's Forgotten Border," told CBS. "The only known terrorists to be apprehended coming overland into America came from the North.

"This border was created in a different time. It was created as the world's friendliest border between two countries."