Republican Reps. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania and Ryan Zinke of Montana introduced a bill Wednesday requesting that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas implement a plan to secure the northern border, according to a copy of the legislation first obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Kelly and Zinke’s resolution cites concerns with surges in apprehensions of individuals whose names appeared on the terror watchlist entering the country via the U.S. border with Canada. Customs and Border Protection recorded 429 encounters of terror watchlisted individuals at ports of entry and three at illegal crossing points between October 2022 and September, according to federal data.
“At a time of increased global uncertainty, we must take every measure necessary to secure our country. That includes our Northern border, which is greatly unsecured and overexposed,” Kelly said in a statement to the DCNF.
“The majority of suspected terrorists caught this year have crossed between the U.S. and Canada, which is the longest continuous border between two countries in the entire world. I’m calling on Secretary Mayorkas to recognize the unique crisis along the Northern border and to work with Congress to solve this problem that gravely threatens our entire nation,” Kelly added.
Kelly and Zinke founded the Northern Border Security Caucus in February as the region experienced a surge in illegal immigration. Lax Canadian government travel requirements and an increase in Border Patrol deployments to address the influx at the southern border over the last couple of years are partially to blame for the situation.
Border Patrol has recorded 8,687 illegal migrant encounters at the northern border between October 2022 and September, compared to 2,238 in all of fiscal year 2022 and 916 in fiscal year 2021, according to federal data.
Zinke believes the bill is timely with Hamas terrorists infiltrating Israel’s border with Gaza Saturday to kidnap, slaughter and rape hundreds of innocent civilians, sparking a war with Israel.
“In the wake of tragedy the world is experiencing in the Middle East, it is imperative we look in every direction and lock it down so Americans stay as safe as possible — that includes the North where Mayorkas is failing,” Zinke said in a statement to the DCNF.
Northern border residents in parts of New York and Vermont previously told the DCNF they’re “overwhelmed” by the influx.
“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,” New York resident Dan Cowan told the DCNF at his home along the northern border.
DHS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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