WASHINGTON—Republican legislators announced on Feb. 28 at the House Triangle a new caucus to raise awareness about the spike of illegal immigrants and drug smugglers coming across the U.S.-Canada border.
Northern border apprehensions have surged by 1,498 percent since President Joe Biden took office, the lawmakers said. Except for marijuana, drug smuggling along the border between the United States and Canada has increased by 596 percent since FY 2021. The number of CBP agents, instead, has remained the same since FY 2009.
Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) lead the Northern Border Security Caucus with more than two dozen House Republicans.
“There was enough fentanyl that came through Montana last year to kill 3.1 million people. That’s three times the population of the great state of Montana,” Zinke said at the press conference.
There are no border states anymore, he continued, “but we can look at what the technology is being used at the southern border, we can benefit from lessons learned—we can actually go to the frontline and talk to our border patrol agents … and take advice from those that know.”
‘China’s Attacking Us’
Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) said that more CBP agents from the Northern border are often in his sector in Texas than in areas where the agents come from. “We are at war,” Gonzales said, “we’re at war with China. China’s attacking us via fentanyl, and they’re using our Southern and Northern border to do that.”
However, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement that “over 90 percent of fentanyl seizures occur at ports of entry or border checkpoints, and those responsible are overwhelmingly American citizens, not migrants.”
The United States-Canada border is the longest in the world, measuring 5,525 miles and having 115 entry ports.
“Many Americans are not aware that we have only about 2,000 border patrol agents assigned to the Northern border,” Brandon Budlong, local president of the National Border Council in Buffalo, New York, said, adding that “given our 24/7 nature of work—this leaves us with only about 450 agents on duty at any one time. They just cover a 5,500-mile land and water border that is well over twice the length of the border with Mexico.”
Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) said reducing CBP personnel while illegal immigrants and drug smuggling spikes is “not a recipe for success.”
“We’ve had 1.2 million known got-aways,” Hector Garza, vice president of the National Border Patrol, said. “There’s still left a whole bunch of unknown got-aways, both at the Southern border and at the Northern border.”
Although the Southern border requires close attention, the Northern border cannot be overlooked, Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) said.
During fiscal year (FY) 2020, CBP arrested 32,376 illegal immigrants at the Northern border. In FY 2021, that number went down to 27,180.
Since then, however, the number has dramatically increased—in FY 2022, CBP apprehended 109,535.
In the first four months of FY 2023, which includes October 2022 to January 2023, there are 55,736 a 133 percent increase over the same period last year.
The lawmakers’ allegation of a surge in northern border apprehensions by 1,498 percent appears to be October 2022 with 15,883 apprehensions, compared to 997 apprehensions in January 2021 when President Joe Biden came into office.
“Where’s the outrage America? You watch your sons and daughters suffer under this? You watch our country under siege, and if these folks had been wearing the uniform of a foreign army, do you think we would have acted on it?” Kelly told reporters at the press conference.
From The Epoch Times