Republicans concerned about human trafficking at the Canadian border
The Republican group on Capitol Hill is concerned about the lack of security along the Canada-US border.
The United States border with Canada, the longest in the world and an enduring symbol of cooperation between the two neighboring countries, has never really been a partisan issue on Capitol Hill. But that may be about to change.
Two Republicans in the House of Representatives – Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania and Ryan Zinke of Montana – have enlisted 26 other members of Congress in a new coalition focused on immigration, crime and national security at the border Canadian-American.
These two elected officials will chair what they call the Northern Border Security Caucus, which will officially launch on Tuesday. This caucus is billed as bipartisan, though it's not yet known how many Democrats will be part of it (or even if there will be).
The members of this caucus are concerned about the increase in human and drug trafficking as well as the decrease in the number of border patrol agents and the lack of security along the Canada-US border, Rep. Kelly's office explained in a statement.
“Recent news reports as well as data compiled over the past two years show an increase in the number of illegal migrant crossings and drug trafficking across the northern border.
— Mike Kelly, Republican Representative from Pennsylvania
The caucus kickoff on Tuesday should include Republican Representatives Kelly Armstrong (North Dakota), Pete Stauber (Minnesota), Claudia Tenney (New York State), Lisa McClain (Michigan), and Tony Gonzales (Texas).
Leaders of the union that represents U.S. Border Patrol agents are also expected to attend Tuesday's event, including its vice president, Fox News regular Hector Garza.
Representatives Kelly and Zinke began canvassing for membership in January with a written invitation to all members of Congress. However, the content of this letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press, suggests that the caucus is as much about attacking one of President Joe Biden's weaker political flanks as it is about ensuring the national security of the United States. United.
Southern states have been overwhelmed with illegal immigration, drug trafficking and record crime that have continued to spill over into local communities. The Biden administration has stood still and watched these great states bear the brunt of disastrous and dangerous policies, the letter reads.
Naturally, all of Attention was drawn to the southern border. Meanwhile, America's northern frontier has been neglected, as it faces its own crises.
These problems in the north include what the letter describes as a five-fold increase in border encounters over the past two years, as US Customs and Border Protection officials say, as well as an increase in drug trafficking. .
In the first four months of fiscal year 2023, from October to January, the agency recorded 55,736 encounters at the Canada-US border or near. These are people deemed inadmissible because of their immigration status or under Section 42, the pandemic-era public health order.
This number is more than double the nearly 24,000 encounters that occurred in the same four months of the previous year and is already halfway to the 109,535 encounters reported in the entirety of the previous year. fiscal year 2022.
This data includes 2,227 northern border encounters by U.S. agents in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023, which nearly matches the 2,238 encounters reported by agents throughout the preceding 12-month period.
This question, long glossed over in the United States by the hundreds of thousands of encounters that occur each month near the southern border, burst into American news last winter when a family of four Indian nationals froze to death in Manitoba during a terrible blizzard, just steps from the border.
Most recently, on February 19, U.S. officials recovered the body of a man from Mexico who allegedly entered Vermont from Quebec.
Customs and Border Protection on the northern border are often called upon to support their colleagues on the Mexican border, further exacerbating current personnel shortages, Representatives Zinke and Kelly wrote in their letter.
Even though the northern border is twice as large as the southern border, it is significantly under-policed and under-secured, it reads. House Republican leaders are right when they say, “Every state is a border state.” Our country and our communities cannot continue to remain silent in the border security conversation.
It may be no coincidence that a House Homeland Security Committee hearing is scheduled for Tuesday to examine the widespread and damaging repercussions of the Biden administration's handling of migration at the border. south.
Canada also has serious problems with irregular migration at the border. Potential asylum seekers have been flocking from the United States across the land border into Canada for years, particularly at Roxham Road near Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, which has become the unofficial border crossing. busiest in Canada.
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada registered 5,599 asylum claims made by migrants who entered irregularly between July and September 2022, compared to 5,148 during the same period in 2019 , before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the highest total for this three-month period since 2017, the first year in office of former President Donald Trump, as more than 8,500 people crossed the border and entered Canada seeking asylum.
With these numbers rising , political pressure is also mounting on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has called for Roxham Road to be closed within 30 days. And Quebec Premier Francois Legault has urged his federal counterpart to pressure the United States to renegotiate the bilateral Safe Third Country Agreement, which opened up this loophole in the first place.