New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu requested that the Department of Homeland Security allow state officials to assist in securing the northern border this week, writing to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that local authorities have been hamstrung by the federal government’s refusal to accept help.
Sununu’s letter comes amid a spike in illegal crossings along the northern border, including New Hampshire’s 51-mile border with Canada.
Customs and Border Protection reported 13,127 migrant encounters at the entire northern border in January, nearly double the amount of encounters in January 2022, and 13 times as many as in January 2021.
The Swanton sector, which encompasses parts of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, saw 367 migrant encounters in January, eclipsing the 24 migrants who were encountered in January 2022.
New Hampshire officials formally requested on Feb. 17 that DHS allow state authorities to “enforce certain specific federal immigration laws in a manner that is appropriately tailored to account for New Hampshire’s unique circumstances.” That offer was rejected because DHS put a hold on new delegation agreements, according to Sununu.
“The Biden Administration has cut funding and hindered the state’s ability to assist in patrolling the northern border,” Sununu wrote in the letter to Mayorkas on Monday. “If the Biden Administration truly believes that securing the border is a priority, I hope you will partner with the State of New Hampshire to make this a reality.”
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New Hampshire’s border with Canada, which consists of rough terrain with limited access to emergency medical services, makes it an especially dangerous area for migrants to attempt to traverse.
A Mexican migrant died last month after crossing into Vermont from Canada in the Swanton Sector.
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DHS did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday. The agency announced earlier this month that 25 extra Border Patrol agents would be assigned to the northern border amid the spike in crossings.
Sununu, meanwhile, requested $1.4 million in his latest budget proposal to create a Border Alliance Program, which would establish a task force to deter illegal immigration.
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