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Number of people apprehended at northern border on the riseSubmitted: 05/14/2019
Rose McBride
Rose McBride
Reporter/Anchor
rmcbride@wjfw.com

Number of people apprehended at northern border on the rise
SAULT STE. MARIE - Migrants crowd the southern border every day. 

Border patrol agents have already detained more people trying to cross the southern border this fiscal year than last.


The fiscal year is only about halfway over. 

The increase has forced border patrol agents on the Canadian border to head south.

But there has been an increase in apprehensions at the northern border as well. 

Newswatch12's Rose McBride took a trip to the border in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan to find out why the number has risen. 

"Our operations are just completely different every border environment that you face," said Sault Ste. Marie Border Patrol Agent in Charge Henry Laxdal. 

Laxdal to used work on the southern border in the Tucson sector before moving on to become the Patrol Agent in Charge at Sault Ste. Marie, which is in the Detroit sector.

Even though apprehensions on the northern border have gone up about 42% from 2017 to 2018, the focus is still where there is the most traffic coming in: the south. 

"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," said Laxdal. 

With people and money dedicated to the southern border, that leaves weaknesses at the Canadian border. Just 60 agents are trying to cover the geographical equivalent of one quarter of the U.S./Mexico border. 

"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," said Laxdal. 

Laxdal says people try to swim across, or come over on small boats illegally. 

But he also says even though the number of apprehensions have gone up in the Detroit sector, that doesn't necessarily mean more people are trying to cross, just that agents are better at catching them.

"What has gone up is our ability to find and locate individuals who have crossed illegally prior to, and our ability to find them now," said Laxdal. 

The agents in Sault Ste. Marie also rely on community and law enforcement partnerships to help them do their jobs. We will have more on who some of those helpers are Wednesday night at 10 p.m. in part three of this series. 


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An earlier version of this report conflated the two criminal complaints filed against contractor Gerald Stodola.

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