Border Patrol agents in Maine busted a stash house full of illegal migrants Tuesday, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statement.
Authorities found 17 illegal migrants from Nicaragua and Guatemala in a house located in Lisbon, Maine, according to CBP. The incident comes amid a surge in illegal migration at the northern border, where Border Patrol apprehended more than 2,800 illegal migrants between October 2022 and February 2023, according to agency data.
Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Canadian border apprehended roughly 2,200 illegal migrants in all of fiscal year 2022, according to CBP. Much of the surge has been seen in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, where Border Patrol recently reported an 846% surge in illegal migrant encounters.
“U.S. Border Patrol will continue to protect our local communities here in Maine and the U.S. as a whole by ensuring those illegally entering the country are apprehended,” said William J. Maddocks, chief patrol agent of the Houlton Sector.
“No one is made safer by allowing criminal activity to go unchecked. Immigration law violations are no different, and criminal activity without consequence is not in our community or national interests,” he added.
Two of the apprehended illegal migrants from Guatemala were found to have previously been removed from the country and four were found to have crossed the southern border illegally previously, according to CBP. The group was working at a Massachusetts-based company that was the renter of the stash house.
“We are seeing a sharp increase in the flow of illegal labor in and out of Maine,” Maddocks said. “Housing 17 people in one house is unsafe and degrading. The exploitation of the undocumented population will continue as long as there is no consequence. We will do all we can to remove the incentives that drive such exploitation, including the continued issuance of civil penalties, fines, and seeking federal criminal prosecution through the U.S. Attorney’s office for every criminal law violation we encounter.”
Many migrants are able to travel to Canada without having to obtain visas through what is known as the Electronic Travel Authorization, which costs 7 Canadian dollars. Both Guatemalans and Nicaraguans are exempt from having to obtain visas in order to fly to Canada.
President Joe Biden and Canadian President Justin Trudeau reached a deal to expel some illegal migrants to Canada, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. The Biden administration also sent two flights of illegal migrants from the northern border to the southern border for Title 42 expulsion, which is the Trump-era public health order used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Daily Caller News Foundation first reported on March 21.
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