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'Definitely Overlooked': Sharp Increase in Number of Migrants Illegally Crossing US Northern Border

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While the U.S. southern border gets the headlines, authorities along our extensive border with Canada are dealing with a surge of their own.

Areas of vast open farmland along that northern border are not guarded by a fence or wall. CBN News visited a spot with only a marker and the date, October 20, 1818 – the day Great Britain and the United States established the boundary between the U.S. and Canadian territories.

Open and 'Overlooked'

At more than 5,500 miles, it's the longest non-militarized open border in the world. CBN News traveled to the North Dakota/Canada border.

"If people wanted to, they could come across at any time," said Stuart Symington, the mayor of the border city, Neche. He feels like the northern border is neglected.

"Oh it's definitely overlooked," he told CBN News. "Everything's being covered down there, so this is an opening."

It's an opening, Symington says, for migrants wanting to cross the ditch into the U.S.

"It's a cheap flight from Mexico to Winnipeg or to Regina, and then just a hop and a skip across the border," he explained. "And if you have a runner on either side, you've got it made."

"And then they're dispersed, and nobody ever sees them again," Symington added.

A resident of nearby Pembina, took us down an abandoned road where we found another open area with an "International Boundary" post. It's just a short distance from the official border crossing, yet there's no security to prevent people from entering the country illegally.

Dramatic Increase

According to reports, there's been a sharp increase in the number of migrants illegally crossing the northern border into the U.S. Our guide, who wanted to remain anonymous, says it's true.

"I've just seen people in taxis coming over, leaving; people like being dropped off, walking, and they're not town people, so we know what they're doing," the guide shared.

Lance Loer lives across the river in Minnesota.

"I hunt just in Minnesota here, and I see suitcases and cell phones and stuff all over, dropped," he told CBN News. "They just don't care. Yeah, I think they should be a little heavier patrolled."        
U.S. Customs and Border Protection back up these reports of a dramatic increase in illegal border crossings. So far, from last October through May of this year, stats show more than 115,000 encounters. Even with four months left in the fiscal year, that number already surpasses the yearly amount in each of the previous three years.

In the Grand Forks sector, covering just North Dakota and Minnesota, the number of encounters is already more than double last fiscal year.

North Dakota State Sen. Janne Myrdal (R) blames the federal government for the increase, accusing the Biden administration of giving up American sovereignty "by giving up the border to... illegal crossings."

"So we are advertising to the world that we're open without any control, without any due process, without any legal way of doing it," she told CBN News. "It doesn't matter – you get awarded if you can jump, swim or run, right, and get into the country."

"You get awarded by the same rights as a citizen has," Myrdal continued.

"Probably people think they got a lot better chance of sneaking across this northern border than they do the southern border," said North Dakota State Rep. David Monson (R).

'Deadly' Crossing

Symington believes a tighter southern border will lead to more crossing attempts up north.
"Yep, and the more they hear that our country's open, the more that that's going to get people to come," he said. "And the sad part is that you'll find in the northern part of the border, especially in the wintertime, people die."

"Winter here, if it's 30 below or worse, and you get 50, 60 below wind chill, it is deadly," explained Myrdal. "Even a mile walk can be deadly."

"So about a year and a half ago we had a family from India that was muled through, and they were told that north of the border about two miles, 'It's just two miles; just go across,' and a few days later they were found frozen in the snow banks up there," she said.

'Nefarious Reasons' 

And there is a potential danger for these border residents as well. 
"I think some of the biggest issues are people coming into the United States that we truly don't want here," North Dakota State Rep. Eric James Murphy (R) told CBN News. "These are people of an organized crime from other countries, people who perhaps have nefarious reasons for coming – maybe they're a spy of a foreign nation."

"There are drugs coming in; I think families are worried about what's being brought into the school," said North Dakota State Rep. Karen Anderson (R). "I know our law enforcement has seen a great increase in fentanyl trafficking and even deaths in Walsh County."

CBP Statement
CBN News reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection about a solution to this issue. They declined our interview request and issued a statement. A CBP spokesperson said:
"CBP deploys a mixture of personnel, technology, infrastructure, and partnerships appropriate to protect our country's northern border from irregular migration, narcotics, and other illegal activity unique to this operating environment… migrants should not listen to the lies of smugglers and make the dangerous journey, only to be sent back."

'Like a Sieve'

"I know they use drones and other technology, and they do an excellent job, but it's too vast of an area to control completely, obviously," said Myrdal.

Federal legislation to establish a center to coordinate northern border security is in the works, but Monson says that's not enough.
"Absolutely, our country is like a sieve; our borders are wide open except when you try to come across legally," he said.

Monson told CBN News that U.S. leaders, in this day and age, need to step it up at all our borders, when it comes to tightening security.


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About The Author


Mark Martin currently serves as a reporter and anchor at CBN News, reporting on all kinds of issues, from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East. He traveled to Bahrain and covered stories on the aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mark also anchors CBN News Midday on the CBN Newschannel and fills in on the anchor desk for CBN News' Newswatch and The 700 Club. Prior to CBN News, Mark worked at KFSM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Fort Smith, Arkansas. There he served as a weekend morning producer, before being promoted to general