Canadian border crossings triple in 2022 compared to 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports 109,536 encounters between individuals crossing the Canadian border and agents. That's three times as many reported in 2021.

The Pembina-Emerson Border Crossing in Pembina County, North Dakota.

FARGO — U.S. Customers and Border Protection is reporting 109,537 encounters between border patrol agents and people illegally crossing on the northern border between the U.S. and Canada in 2022.

It represents an over 300% increase to what they reported in 2021.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., met with officials from the U.S. Border patrol in Grand Forks to discuss the increase in encounters and the need for additional resources for dealing with the spike.

Hoeven says it's hard for border patrol agents to cover the hundreds of miles of the border between the two countries.

He's working to secure funding through the Senate Appropriations Committee to help address border patrol staffing shortages, and to improve recruitment efforts.


WDAY News spoke with Dr. Julie Young, a professor and immigration researcher at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta about what could be causing the spike. She said comparing the two years just by the numbers isn't a fair comparison.

For one, COVID-19 era travel policies were very different between the two years and pent-up demand from travel restrictions might account for the spike.

She worries simply putting more money into the same policies could actually make issues at the border even worse.

"The reflex to crack down on the border to make it more difficult to cross, in fact, actually drives human smuggling," Young said. "It just pushes people to more remote and dangerous routes and methods of travel."

Hoeven said securing the border is essential to fight both human trafficking and drug trafficking, especially as communities across the country struggle with rising fentanyl overdoses.

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