A new scenario is confronting law enforcement agents at our Southern border with Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seen a large increase in Russians and Ukrainians apprehended at the border.
The rise in apprehensions began last winter as tensions between Ukraine and Russia began to intensify. Individuals foreshadowed the war and made attempts to reach the United States. The Foreign Desk reports on recent numbers from CBP “show that just in the last six months, 1,300 Ukrainians met immigration officials at the U.S.-Mexico border, up from less than 700 for all of 2021.”
“Over 7,000 Russians also have arrived, approximately doubling last year’s figure.” The number of Russian or Ukrainian citizens crossing the border makes up only a small percentage of everyone from around the globe making the attempt, but there is one large difference.
Unlike most Central and South American migrants, those from Ukraine and Russia are being allowed to stay in the U.S., “and in many cases, arranging to meet relatives already here.”
The Foreign Desk reports:
A DHS memo released March 11 authorized CBP agents to consider exempting from expulsion asylum-seekers with Ukrainian passports. Exemptions are to be made on a case-by-case basis.
Russians who have fled Russia are not addressed in the memo.
Many Russians have left Russia as the invasion of Ukraine ramped up, fearing political persecution or conscription to go fight in Ukraine.
A common strategy for both Russians and Ukrainians is to enter Mexico as a tourist, without paperwork in order and then apply for asylum status upon entering the U.S. It is easier to get a tourist visa for Mexico than for the U.S.
Fox News reported some Russian asylum-seekers were being turned away at the border, under Title 42 rules , but Ukrainians were ushered into the U.S. The Biden administration also announced this week that the U.S. would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees “through the full range of legal pathways,”
It remains unclear as to whether or not those crossing at the border will be included in that number.
Canadian-U.S. border illegal crossings up 240% over previous year
The vulnerability of the northern border of the United States is being weaponized in the war on illegal migration. 2023 saw a 240% increase of individuals apprehended from just one year prior. Not only is the border with Canada significantly longer than its border with Mexico, but its ports of entry are often understaffed while the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is forced to prioritize the southern surge.
According to recent data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in 2023 authorities halted over 12,000 migrants attempting illegal crossings at the Canadian border. The number is a 240% increase from the preceding year when 3,579 individuals were apprehended.
ADN America reports that approximately 70% of the illegal crossings took place along a 295-mile stretch along the northern New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire border called the Swanton Sector.
Chief patrol agent for the sector, Robert Garcia, posted on social media that the 3,100 individuals apprehended were from 55 different countries.
Garcia wrote “the record-breaking surge of illegal entries from Canada continues in Swanton Sector” and he specifically mentioned that the arrest of 10 Bangladeshi citizens was prompted by a citizen’s report in Champlain, New York.
Surprisingly, ADN reports:
A significant number of those engaging in illegal crossings are Mexicans who exploit the opportunity to fly to Canada without a visa, also avoiding the presence of cartels in their home countries.
Experts suggest that migrants can purchase a $350 one-way plane ticket from Mexico City or Cancun to Montreal or Toronto. This route is perceived as offering a lower likelihood of being turned away compared to those crossing the southern border.
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