(USNewsMag.com) – A GOP lawmaker who is also co-chair of the Northern Border Security Caucus warned the federal government last week that the northern border remains “virtually unwatched” as Washington, D.C., overlooks the situation partly because of the crisis at the southern border.
A few days after testifying about the northern border situation and challenges before the House Judiciary Committee, Republican Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania spoke with Fox News and said that he “wanted them to understand” that the “longest contiguous border in the world” is the US-Canada border, which is around 5,500 miles long, and that it’s “virtually unwatched right now.”
One of the reasons for this is that the numbers at the northern border are far surpassed by the outstanding number of immigrants happening at the US-Mexico border to the south, which saw more than 2.4 million encounters in Fiscal Year (FY) 23 so far.
Compared to the staggering number in the south, the northern border only saw 189,402 encounters for FY 23, yet despite how much smaller this number is than in the country, it also represents a steep increase from 27,000 in FY 21, which jumped to 109,535 the following fiscal year.
Border officials are calling for more help as they sound the alarm about the rapid increase. In the Swanton Sector, immigrants from 76 different countries have been encountered by border agents, surpassing the last decade combined. The northern border is becoming a more attractive prospective crossing point for immigrants. Many are flying from South America and elsewhere into Canada in order to move into the US.
Kelly noted that those crossing this way “don’t have to worry about coming through a jungle” and that there’s no river to cross. He also pointed out statistics showing that an estimated 55% of drug seizures by weight happen at the northern border. As encounters and smuggling attempts increase, the number of border patrol staff hasn’t risen since 2009.
The Northern Border Security Caucus was founded by Kelly and Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana back in February. The caucus has introduced a resolution calling for the Justice Department to lay out a formal plan to ensure the northern border is secure.
Although the Biden administration acknowledged the situation there and announced a new deal with Canada to address it, Kelly dismissed their plan as just “optics.”
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