The overwhelming surge of illegal immigrants on the U.S.-Mexico border is drawing agents away from the northern border, where apprehensions are also increasing significantly. Sault Ste. Marie Border Patrol Agent in Charge Henry Laxdal told WJFW apprehensions in the Detroit sector increased 42 percent between 2017 and 2018, though the numbers pale in comparison to the southern border crisis.
“Our operations are just completely different, every border environment that you face,” said Laxdal, who previously worked in the Tucson sector. “Right now, if you didn’t have the epidemic with these human caravans at the southern border, (the northern border) may be more of a focal point.”
Despite the rising numbers, Laxdal told WJFW agent transfers to the U.S.-Mexico border means there’s now just 60 agents working to cover hundreds of miles of open border in his sector, including a lot of areas where folks can simply swim or boat a short distance to cross.
“When you’re trying to cover 500 miles of water border, you have areas … where you might have 100 yards between the U.S. and Canada,” he said.
That’s one agent for every 8.4 miles of border.
Last month, Canadian cab driver Juan Antonio Garcia-Jimenez pleaded guilty to collecting $8,680 to smuggle at least nine illegal immigrants through a walkway along an underground train tunnel that stretches 1.6 miles between Ontario, Canada and Detroit, The American Mirror reports.
Authorities told The Detroit News the 53-year-old dropped the illegal immigrants off at the tunnel entrance on the Canadian side and explained when to go through to avoid cargo trains, a trek that’s incredibly risky because the walkway is only 17 inches wide and in disrepair.
“There is zero room,” CBP spokesman Kris Grogan said. “If a train would have come through they would have been killed.” (Read More)