Border Patrol reports a ‘major increase’ in encounters with migrants this year. Why?  - VTDigger (2023)

Border Patrol reports a ‘major increase’ in encounters with migrants this year. Why? - VTDigger (1)

Earlier this month, the head of U.S. Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector on the northern border took to Twitter, pointing out what he called a “MAJOR INCREASE!!!”

Acting Chief Patrol Agent Keith Hoops tweeted that Swanton Sector, which includes Vermont, New Hampshire and the very eastern part of New York, had seen an increase in “border encounters” of more than 92% over last year.

“Our #BorderPatrol Agents have worked tirelessly to keep America safe,” he wrote, attaching an image of a graph.

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Yet experts said that while the Swanton Sector has seen an increase in the number of encounters between agents and migrants who are either apprehended or expelled from the country, it’s important to note that it comes amid a global surge in migration.

In Vermont, data cited by Hoops shows an increase of only about 60%. And compared with other border states, the number of encounters here is fairly small.

U.S. Border Patrol reports two different types of encounters: apprehensions, in which migrants are taken into custody to await going before a judge, and expulsions, in which they are immediately expelled either to their home country or their last country of transit.

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“We are only one of several countries receiving a vastly increased number of migrants,” said Adam Isacson, director for defense oversight for the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights advocacy organization.

Driving factors for the increase include climate change, dictatorships and the social and economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, Isacson said. “It’s going up everywhere.”

Border Patrol is responsible for stopping illicit cross-border activity in between official land ports of entry, such as the border crossing station on Interstate 89 in Highgate.

“In layman’s terms, we’re trying to catch people sneaking people, or contraband, through the woods,” said Richard Ross, patrol agent in charge at the agency’s Richford Station.

What the data shows

Border Patrol agents in the Swanton Sector reported 508 migrant encounters between October 2021 and June 2022, compared to 264 such encounters over the same time period a year prior, according to the data cited by Hoops. This year’s total is also higher than the 444 the agency reported from October 2019 to June 2020, which includes months prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Updated federal data as of Aug. 18, which includes figures for July 2022, shows yet larger year-to-date increases both in Vermont and across the Swanton Sector.

Well over half of that 92% increase came from the New York portion of the Swanton Sector. Vermont saw 198 reported encounters between October 2021 and June 2022, versus 122 over the same time a year prior — about a 62% increase.

Harrison Stark, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont, said he thinks Hoops’ tweet could be misleading because the increase does not seem as large when considering the actual number of people involved.

On average, the Swanton Sector saw about 27 more encounters in each month this fiscal year than each month last fiscal year between October and June, according to the data.

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“When we're talking about a post-pandemic, post-vaccine increase of about two dozen a month, I think those numbers paint a very different picture than the 92% (increase), which looks on paper like it's a very drastic change,” Stark said.

Ross, the Richford Station’s head patrol agent, pointed to the loosening of pandemic-era travel restrictions as the main reason for an increase in encounters, along with an increase in Covid-19 vaccination rates. More travel can bring more opportunities for smugglers to lure people who are in vulnerable situations to Canada, and then into the U.S., he said.

“With the promise of a job, they can have you fly into Toronto or Montreal,” Ross said. “And then, there being no actual job, the next thing is, well, if you pay me more money, I can smuggle you into the United States. So that’s appealing for some folks.”

No one country stands out as the origin of an increase in migrants attempting to enter Vermont, Ross said, who called citizenship a “mixed bag.” In a given year, the Swanton Sector sometimes apprehends people from 50 or 60 different countries, he said.

Per the data, at least 68% of people who were expelled or apprehended by Border Patrol since October 2021 had citizenship in a North, Central or South American country, while about 16% had citizenship that wasn’t reported.

Border politics

In Vermont, a majority of the encounters since October 2021 have resulted in expulsion, not apprehension, under a pandemic-era public health order known as Title 42.

Invoked in March 2020 under the Trump administration, the controversial policy allows the federal government to bar migrants from entering the country as part of efforts to limit the spread of contagious disease. The Biden administration’s efforts to lift the order were blocked by a judge in May.

More than 80% of those expelled or apprehended in the state by the agency were single individuals; the rest were reported as “individuals in a family unit.”

Ross said Border Patrol agents do not always expel migrants under Title 42, such as in the event they aren’t authorized to enter and remain in Canada as a temporary or permanent resident. In that case, he said the person would likely be apprehended under Title 8, which is the body of U.S. federal law dealing with immigration and nationality.

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Hoops’ tweet earlier this month also drew the attention of Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security. In their own tweet, the Republicans said the 92% increase was “a result of the #BidenBorderCrisis.”

But Isacson, of the Washington Office of Latin America, said the increase in migrant encounters has had little to do with the Biden administration or its policies.

“This is a part of a larger trend. The only way I would say it's indirectly because of Biden is just because Biden is not Donald Trump,” he said. “He’s seen at least as caring about the human rights of migrants, and that might make people feel safer coming — although, they were coming in pretty big numbers during Trump, also.”

When accounting for all recorded border encounters, including those at official border crossing locations, which are staffed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations and not under Border Patrol’s jurisdiction, Vermont ranks 13th nationally with 7,475 encounters since October 2021 — about one third of 1% of the nation’s total. (Border Patrol is a part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection).

Isacson said this shows that far more people — thousands, versus hundreds — are being apprehended or expelled at Vermont’s official border crossings.

Perceptions of danger

Stark said he finds it “pretty transparent” why Border Patrol wants to highlight a statistic showing a “major increase” in encounters with migrants.

“I think BP is using these numbers to push a very particular narrative about quote-unquote ‘security,’ and about protecting Vermont,” he said. “But border communities like Swanton are statistically among the safest in the country.”

Ross believes an increase in border encounters — and with that, people attempting to enter the U.S. illegally — could make residents of Vermont’s border towns and cities less safe, though he could not point to a specific incident as an example.

“We get people that call us in the middle of night because somebody's knocking on their door. And that's never a good feeling,” he said.

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Sharon Bousquet, who chairs the Highgate Selectboard, said she’s heard that some residents who live near the border have seen an increase in people attempting to cross illegally. Some have expressed feeling unsafe as a result, she said, and she believes “rightly so.”

“We pay so much attention to the southern borders, that we don’t give as much care to the northern borders. And we do have dangerous people that come across,” she said, noting that she thinks the Swanton Sector Border Patrol agents do “a great job.”

Ross said he couldn't comment directly on what Hoops tweets because he can’t speak for the acting chief. But he said he thinks that publishing statistics such as the 92% increase helps Border Patrol tell the agency’s “story.”

“Just in general, to get our story out there and say: ‘Hey, you know what, this type of thing is happening here,” Ross added. “And it's dangerous.”

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FAQs

What is migrant encounter? ›

Migrant encounters indicate each instance that a would-be migrant attempts to enter the United States; they do not indicate unique individuals because one person can be counted multiple times. Migrant encounters climbed higher still with 140,000 in July 2021.

What is the percentage of immigrants in the US 2022? ›

We estimate that illegal immigrants accounted for about two-thirds or 1.35 million of this increase. As a share of the total population, the foreign-born now account for 14.3 percent of the U.S. population — the highest percentage in 112 years.

How many immigrants are crossing the border every day? ›

The administration's internal data now counts about 8,000 people attempting to cross the southwest border each day — an enormous number. It reflects growing numbers of migrants from Cuba, Colombia, Haiti and Peru as well as traditional centers of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico.

How many immigrants came to the US in 2021? ›

After President Biden took office, the number of asylum seekers and migrants apprehended after crossing the border between ports of entry began rising rapidly, increasing from 75,316 in January 2021 to a high of 200,658 in July 2021.

Where do most of the immigrants in the United States come from? ›

Origins of the U.S. immigrant population, 1960–2016
19602018
Europe-Canada84%13%
South and East Asia4%28%
Other Latin America4%25%
Mexico6%25%

Why is there an increase in immigration? ›

Immigration, even at reduced levels, is for the first time making up a majority of population growth. In part this is because Americans are dying at higher rates and having fewer babies, trends accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic. But it's also because there are signs that immigration is picking up again.

Why is the U.S. population growing so fast? ›

The age structure, along with relatively high fertility and immigration, is likely to fuel continued U.S. population growth. The sources of growth are also bringing diversity.

What happens if you get turned away at the border? ›

After the denial of entry, the American border will often contact the RCMP and let them know the whereabouts of the wanted person. If the warrant is stateside, instead of receiving a refusal of entry the individual will likely be arrested on the spot.

How many immigrants are allowed in the U.S. each year? ›

The INA allows the United States to grant up to 675,000 permanent immigrant visas each year across various visa categories. On top of those 675,000 visas, the INA sets no limit on the annual admission of U.S. citizens' spouses, parents, and children under the age of 21.

Where do most immigrants move to? ›

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Number of Foreign-Born Residents (Immigrants) - United Nations 2020:
  • United States — 50.6 million.
  • Germany — 15.8 million.
  • Saudi Arabia — 13.5 million.
  • Russia — 11.6 million.
  • United Kingdom — 9.4 million.
  • United Arab Emirates — 8.7 million.
  • France — 8.5 million.
  • Canada — 8.0 million.

Which states have the most immigrants? ›

Which U.S. states have the largest numbers of immigrants? The U.S. states with the most immigrants in 2019 were California (10.6 million), Texas (5 million), Florida (4.5 million), New York (4.4 million), and New Jersey (2.1 million).

What is Title 42 at the border? ›

Section 265 of U.S. Code Title 42 permits the Director of the CDC to “prohibit … the introduction” into the United States of individuals when the director believes that “there is serious danger of the introduction of [a communicable] disease into the United States.” The HHS regulation allows any customs officers—which ...

How many African immigrants live in the United States today 2021? ›

There are roughly 4.6 million Black immigrants in the U.S. today, and according to Pew Research Center that number could more than double to 9.5 million in 2060.

How many non U.S. citizens live in the US? ›

The 2021 American Community Survey estimated there were 310.7M citizens and 21.2M noncitizens in the U.S. About 281.1M citizens were born in the U.S.

What country has the most American immigrants? ›

Millions of Americans live outside the United States. About nine million Americans live outside the country according to an estimate by the State Department. Americans migrate from their country for several reasons.
...
Countries With the Most American Emigrants.
RankCountryAmerican Emigrants
1Mexico899,311
2Canada738,203
3India700,000
4Philippines600,000
6 more rows
13 Dec 2018

What country accepts the most immigrants? ›

Countries That Accept the Most Migrants
  • Germany.
  • United States.
  • Spain.
  • Japan.
  • South Korea.
  • United Kingdom.
  • Turkey.
  • Chile.

What are the main problems of immigration? ›

The Top 10 Problems Faced by Immigrants
  • Language barriers.
  • Employment opportunities.
  • Housing.
  • Access to local services.
  • Transportation issues.
  • Cultural differences.
  • Raising children.
  • Prejudice.
18 Jun 2021

Where are all the immigrants coming from? ›

The United States was home to 22.0 million women, 20.4 million men, and 2.5 million children who were immigrants. The top countries of origin for immigrants were Mexico (24 percent of immigrants), India (6 percent), China (5 percent), the Philippines (4.5 percent), and El Salvador (3 percent).

What is the impact of migration? ›

The loss of a person from rural areas, impact on the level of output and development of rural areas. The influx of workers in urban areas increases competition for the job, houses, school facilities etc. Having large population puts too much pressure on natural resources, amenities and services.

Is USA overpopulated or underpopulated? ›

The U.S. population is now more than 330 million people, and globally, it's nearly 7.8 billion. The global population is expected to peak at 9.7 billion by 2064 and then fall back down to 8.8 billion by 2100.

What state is losing the most population? ›

The 10 States With the Largest Percentage Population Declines in 2021:
  • New York: -1.58%
  • Illinois: -0.89%
  • Hawaii: -0.71%
  • California: -0.66%
  • Louisiana: -0.58%
  • Massachusetts: -0.53%
  • North Dakota: -0.52%
  • West Virginia: -0.38%
27 Apr 2022

What percentage of America is white? ›

Overall, 235.4 million people reported White alone or in combination with another group. The White alone population accounted for 204.3 million people and 61.6% of all people living in the United States, compared with 223.6 million and 72.4% in 2010.

How do you know if you are flagged by customs? ›

There are signs that will indicate you have been flagged for additional screenings: You were not able to print a boarding pass from an airline ticketing kiosk or from the internet. You were denied or delayed boarding. A ticket agent “called someone” before handing you a boarding pass.

Can a US citizen be denied entry back into the USA? ›

The same is true for lawful permanent residents: you generally cannot be denied entry to the United States, but declining to answer questions may result in delay or further inspection.

What does border Patrol see when they scan your passport? ›

' Presumably both you and your son hold US e-passports which contain a chip. That chip holds biometric information that's printed on the picture page - name, date of birth, sex, nationality, date of issue, passport number, and photograph.

How many times can a U.S. citizen sponsor a spouse? ›

While there isn't a specific numerical limit for sponsors, U.S. citizens and legal residents can only sponsor limited cases for close family members. This means that if you want to sponsor two different close relatives, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will allow you to file two separate petitions.

Can a U.S. citizen sponsor a non family member? ›

Can a U.S. citizen sponsor a non-family member for immigration? Unfortunately, no, you can't petition for a foreign national's visa or green card if they aren't a family member.

How can I immigrate to USA without a job offer? ›

There are also ways to get a green card without a US company sponsor. Two of these ways are: (1) the EB1A visa; and (2) the National Interest Waiver. Through both of these options, you do not need a job offer and you do not need a company to file an immigrant visa petition on your behalf.

Which country is better for immigration? ›

Bolstered by a strong economy and favorable perceptions of the quality of life the country offers, Canada ranks No. 1 in a 2018 U.S. News analysis of the Best Countries to Be an Immigrant.

What is the easiest country to immigrate to? ›

Easiest Countries to Immigrate To
  • New Zealand.
  • Australia.
  • Spain.
  • Paraguay.
  • Germany.
  • Montenegro.
  • Czechia.
  • Thailand.

Which is the easiest country to migrate? ›

Easiest Countries to Immigrate To 2022
CountryOverall RankingInsider Monkey
Canada11
New Zealand24
Mexico36
Australia4
16 more rows

Which state in U.S. is easiest to immigrate? ›

What Are the Most Immigrant Friendly States in the USA?
  • 8 — Washington.
  • 7 — District of Columbia.
  • 6 — Georgia.
  • 5 — Maryland.
  • 4 — New Jersey.
  • 3 — New York.
  • 2 — Illinois.
  • 1 — California.

What city in the US has the most immigrants? ›

Hialeah, Florida

What is the fastest you can get a green card? ›

If you qualify as an immediate relative, you may only have to wait as little as two months to get a green card. Who qualifies as an immediate relative? Spouses of U.S. citizens, children under 21 years of age whose parents are U.S. citizens, and the parents of children who are U.S. citizens over 21 are all eligible.

What does it mean when Title 42 ends? ›

On April 1, 2022, the Biden administration announced that, effective May 23, it will end a Trump-era expulsion policy, known as Title 42, that prevented people seeking refuge from dangerous or harmful conditions from applying for asylum in the United States.

Can you cross the border illegally and seek asylum? ›

Is seeking asylum legal? Yes, seeking asylum is legal—even during a pandemic. Asylum seekers must be in the U.S. or at a port of entry (an airport or an official land crossing) to request the opportunity to apply for asylum.

What is Article 42 of the Constitution? ›

Article 42 of the Constitution adopted in 1991, and amended in 2013, includes the following provisions: Any form of violence in the family is considered destructive of its harmony and unity, and shall be sanctioned according to law.

Where do most Black people live? ›

The 10 states where 60 percent of African Americans resided were: New York, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Michigan and Louisiana. Five of these had more than 2 million Blacks each: New York, California, Texas, Florida and Georgia.

What percentage of the US is Black? ›

Which state has highest percentage of Black people? ›

Texas has the highest Black population in the United States of 3,936,669, about 14% of Texas's total population.

What makes a migrant vulnerable? ›

Migrants may find themselves in vulnerable situations as a result of the situations compelling them to leave their country of origin, the circumstances in which they travel or the conditions they face on arrival, or because of personal characteristics such as their age, gender identity, race, disability or health ...

What does the term migratory workers mean? ›

A “migrant worker” is defined in the International Labour Organization (ILO) instruments as a person who migrates from one country to another (or who has migrated from one country to another) with a view to being employed other than on his own account, and includes any person regularly admitted as a migrant for ...

Can humans migrate? ›

People may migrate as individuals, in family units or in large groups. There are four major forms of migration: invasion, conquest, colonization and emigration/immigration.

Why are immigrants considered a vulnerable population? ›

More opportunities for immigrants to obtain legal residency and citizenship may be the best route to expanded access to care. Immigrants are often identified as a “vulnerable population”—that is, a group at increased risk for poor physical, psychological, and social health outcomes and inadequate health care.

Who is a vulnerable migrant? ›

Women, children and ethnic minorities typically constitute the most vulnerable groups of migrants as they are the most at risk of smuggling, human trafficking and violation of human rights. Children in migration, in particular, deserve and receive special international protection.

Why do migrant workers get exploited? ›

Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to labour trafficking. Limited language skills, social isolation, fears about immigration status, and little knowledge of Canada's immigration, employment and human rights laws can make migrant workers easy targets for traffickers.

Why does Immigrants are more likely to work in risky jobs than US workers? ›

Immigrants Take on Riskier Jobs Due to Necessity

“This suggests [they] may have limited options in the labor market, perhaps because of limited English-speaking abilities or a lack of legal status.” Those with lower English ability and less time in the United States are more likely to work in risky jobs.

What problems do migrant workers face? ›

Breaks, overtime, sick pay and minimum wage laws may not be followed because there is no recourse for the worker. The Migrant Clinicians Network, or MCN, reports that migrant workers have difficulty meeting their healthcare needs and frequent moves interfere with continuity of care for serious healthcare conditions.

What kind of jobs do immigrant workers have? ›

The report finds that foreign-born workers are employed in a broad range of occupations—with 23 percent in managerial and professional occupations; 21 percent in technical, sales, and administrative support occupations; 21 percent in service occupations; and 18 percent working as operators, fabricators.

What is the difference between immigrants and migrants? ›

Differences Between Immigrants and Migrants

An immigrant moves to another country intending to settle there permanently. Migrants can be people simply moving from one region to another within their country or people crossing international borders.

What was the color of the first humans? ›

These early humans probably had pale skin, much like humans' closest living relative, the chimpanzee, which is white under its fur. Around 1.2 million to 1.8 million years ago, early Homo sapiens evolved dark skin.

Why do humans have 2 legs? ›

Scientists claim that walking on two legs was one of the keys to humans' development from ancient ape-like ancestors. Walking on two legs saved energy and allowed the arms to be used for activities like hunting, crafting simple tools and interacting with objects.

Who were the first humans on Earth? ›

The First Humans

One of the earliest known humans is Homo habilis, or “handy man,” who lived about 2.4 million to 1.4 million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa.

What is a vulnerable situation? ›

Vulnerable situation means a person's condition caused by his/her physical or psychological state or by external circumstances, which take away or limit his/her ability to comprehend his/her actions (inactivity) or have control over them, to make free-will independent decisions, resist violent or other unlawful actions ...

Who is vulnerable in society? ›

This term is applied to groups of people (children, pregnant women, elderly people, malnourished people, prisoners, migrants and refugees, people who uses drugs, and people who are ill or immunocompromized, etc.)

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