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Northern Border Residents Say They’re ‘Overwhelmed’ And ‘On Edge’ Over Illegal Migration Surge
  • Residents living in an area of the northern border known as the Swanton sector, which encompasses parts of New York and Vermont, are fed up over the local impacts of an influx in illegal migration that has resulted in property damage and interruptions to their normally quiet lives.
  • The sector has seen a nearly 845% surge in illegal migration in the month of January, when Border Patrol agents encountered 367 migrants.
  • “Everybody in this area is on edge,” Northern border resident Dan Cowan told the DCNF. “We don’t have the holding capacity for Border Patrol or U.S. Customs. What are they gonna do with these people when they’re getting here? They’re not deporting them.”

CHATEAUGAY, New York  — Northern border residents in parts of New York and Vermont say they’re “overwhelmed” by the surge in illegal migrants moving south into their communities as they’re disrupting the locals’ daily lives, depleting already limited resources and causing damage in the area, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The northern border’s Swanton sector has seen a 845% surge in migrant apprehensions and a 900% increase in illegal migrants evading arrest in the month of January alone. Border Patrol apprehended and encountered 367 migrants in January—more than the number from past 12 Januarys combined—and residents of the area  told the DCNF that the influx has “everyone on edge” and that they have never “seen anything this bad.” 

“Our Biden administration, open borders, free everything,” Cowan said as he stood in his home near Chateaugay, New York.

The recent increase in illegal migration up north can be attributed to lax Canadian government travel requirements for many nationalities and a lack of manpower on the U.S. side, with Border Patrol agents deployed to address the influx at the southern border over the last couple of years.

There are roughly 2,200 Border Patrol agents stationed along the entire northern border out of the nearly 20,000 total agents patrolling all U.S. borders, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“Our Biden administration, open borders, free everything,” Cowan said as he stood in his home near Chateaugay, New York.

“Everybody in this area is on edge,” he told the DCNF. “We don’t have the holding capacity for Border Patrol or U.S. Customs. What are they gonna do with these people when they’re getting here? They’re not deporting them.”

“I participated in reporting 16 in the month of January that had walked through and gotten picked up. Most of them I would say were either Mexicans or Guatemalans and the occasional Romanians,” Cowan said, sharing that he fears finding bodies of illegal migrants who didn’t survive the cold when the snow melts at the end of the winter.

“They need to be aware of what’s really going on in this country, they need to open their eyes to what’s happening. There are elderly people, my 81-year-old mother lives next door. We had a person that tried to get in my garage door right here,” he continued.

Illegal migrant found on New York resident’s doorstep
Photo courtesy of Dan Cowan


A resident of North Troy, Vermont, Jim Brewers, explained that his family’s normally quiet life on their farm has been disrupted by Border Patrol’s frequent patrols of the area and the damages caused by the surge in illegal migration. He also said he had a mother and her baby take refuge in his truck when the weather was twenty degrees below zero.

“I’m tired of the damages that I’m trying to fix,” Brewers told the DCNF.

“I see probably five to eight a week. It mostly looks like women and children. My sugar bush is a mile down the road, that’s full of tracks all the time,” Brewers added.

Jennie Taer//Daily Caller News Foundation

Border Patrol drops off illegal migrants who cross into the north with their court dates at nearby motels, the DCNF observed. Several groups dropped off in the area that were from Romania and Haiti told the DCNF they were trying to buy bus tickets to get to other cities further south.

The area doesn’t have the resources to support them, according to the residents in the area.

Haitian migrants who crossed the border illegally from Canada into the U.S. Jennie Taer//Daily Caller News Foundation

“It would overwhelm this town. Because there’s prisons here too and all of the families come up,” Mary Whalen, who’s from Franklin County, New York, told the DCNF.

“I don’t think Franklin County can handle much more and I voted for Biden. Still, I think there’s a limit to how many people should come across that border. I was hoping he wouldn’t let so many through,” Whalen said.

Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams began busing illegal migrants to Plattsburgh, New York, where they go to cross the border illegally into Canada. The situation has added to the number of migrants that have gone south via small northern border towns.

“These areas that have put themselves up as sanctuary cities, sanctuary states that have asked people to move along, I think [it] is very disingenuous,” Clinton County, New York, legislator Calvin Castine recently told the DCNF.

“Obviously, they’re taking some people, but I think putting themselves up as a city with 8.5 million people and then putting them on a bus and sending them to Clinton County with a 75,000 population … eventually ending up here in Champlain with a 5,500 population trying to cross the border, I think that they’re being a little bit disingenuous,” he added.

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