During the last three months of 2022, Vermont witnessed an exponential increase in illegal immigration. In this period, agents in Sector Swanton, which spans the entire border between Vermont and Canada, arrested more immigrants trying to enter the country illegally than in the last two fiscal years combined.
In total, Border Patrol estimated a 743% increase in migrant encounters, as confirmed by Swanton Sector Chief Robert Garcia:
Between October 1 and December 31, 2022, U.S. Border Patrol's Swanton Sector recorded an approximate 743% increase in apprehensions and encounters compared to the same period the year prior. Combined apprehensions and encounters in Fiscal Year 2023 have already surpassed that of Fiscal Year 2022 and recent trends represent a sustained increase in illegal border crossings as we head into the harshest winter months.
Increased Illicit Crossings Carry Higher Risk in Winter: For OCT-DEC 2022, #BorderPatrol Swanton Sector had a near-743% increase in encounters over the same prior-year period. In the midst of #NorthCountry winter, safety is a grave concern. Press release: https://t.co/3PE8LLCGwu
— Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia (@USBPChiefSWB) January 25, 2023
Harsh weather conditions and human trafficking
To cross the border in this region, illegal immigrants risk their lives due to the heavy frosts and low temperatures during these months of the year. This is compounded by the geographical location, with high mountains that make transit difficult. For this reason, Agent Garcia explains Border Patrol's main objective:
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.
In addition, Agent Garcia says that his units target criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking along the U.S.-Canada border:
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.