As the Trump administration placed heavy emphasis on securing the southern border by tightening asylum policies and building a wall, the northern border also faces growing concerns over illegal immigration and smuggling.
Vermont saw an influx of illegal immigration cases at the Vermont-Canada border, according to a Time report Tuesday. Data from Vermont’s U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan revealed at least 267 apprehensions occurred in fiscal year 2018 as opposed to the 2017 fiscal year where 132 were apprehended.
The New York, Vermont and New Hampshire border with Canada also saw an increase in apprehensions, from 165 people in 2017 to 324 people in 2018. People have paid smugglers as much as $4,000 when crossing the border between Vermont and Quebec, according to Time.
U.S. officials believed the increase in illegal immigration in the north was because of Canada’s visa-less policy for certain countries, Time reported. Canada lifted the visa requirement for Mexico to strengthen the bond between the two countries in 2016.
Romania became exempt from visas as well in 2017.
The visa-less option was believed to be attractive as flights from Mexico City to Montreal or Toronto cost less than $350, allowing migrants to first enter Canada before crossing into America, according to the Time report.
The visa policy change was viewed to have “minimal impact” on illegal immigration, according to spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Beatrice Fenelon, told Time. (RELATED: Border Patrol Sets Up Shop In New England – Gets Unbelievable Results In Only 11 Hours)
Other sections of the northern border have not faced increases in illegal immigration like Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire. Some border patrol members believed the Vermont section was in a central and accessible location between Canadian and U.S. east coast cities, Time reported.
Canada also saw an increase in illegal border crossing from the American side, particularly after President Trump was elected in 2016.
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