Hoeven Outlines More Than 300 Percent Increase in Illegal Crossings Along Northern Border

Senator Meets with Grand Forks Border Patrol Chief, Working to Secure More Personnel, Infrastructure & Technology for Northern Border

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today spoke with officials from the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and representatives of the National Border Patrol Council, the union which represents USBP agents, to discuss the increase in encounters along the northern border and the need for additional resources to ensure the northern border is secure against drug and human trafficking. In a meeting with Grand Forks Sector Chief Anthony Good, Hoeven outlined the drastic rise in individuals attempting to cross the northern border illegally, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) experiencing 109,536 such encounters in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, a 303 percent increase over FY2021, with the high rate of encounters continuing this fiscal year.

Hoeven has been working to bring attention to concerns along the northern border and provide more infrastructure, personnel and technology to North Dakota to help support Border Patrol agents and ensure the border is secure. To this end, Hoeven worked as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure provisions in annual funding legislation that:

  • Requires CBP to prioritize and continue efforts to use incentives to recruit and retain personnel in rural and remote areas, including exploring new strategies.
  • Provides resources for autonomous surveillance towers and the hiring of additional Border Patrol agents.
  • Requires CBP to prioritize addressing staffing shortages at northern border ports of entry to expedite cross-border tourist and commercial traffic.
  • Directs CBP to notify Congress within 15 days of redeploying more than 10 percent of staff in any sector along the northern border to the southwest border or other ports of entry, including the number and location of the personnel diverted, the duration of the temporary deployment, and when the personnel will return to their posts. 

“Border Patrol agents stationed in North Dakota and other northern states face a range of challenges, due to the many miles they monitor and the remote locations that fall within their jurisdiction,” said Hoeven. “With illegal crossings along the northern border increasing by more than 300 percent, it is essential that we provide them with the resources they need to ensure our border is secure. Doing so is not only essential to our national security, but needed to prevent human trafficking and drug smuggling, which has impacted communities across our nation with the rise of fentanyl overdoses. That’s the point of today’s meeting and our ongoing efforts to properly staff and secure the northern border.” 

In addition to today’s meeting, Hoeven has been pressing the Biden administration to properly staff and secure the northern border, as well as reopen the U.S. border with Canada for trade and travel. Hoeven’s efforts include:  

  • Leading a bipartisan effort urging U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young to prioritize including resources to properly staff and secure the northern border in the president’s FY2024 budget request.
  • Repeatedly calling for CBP officials to resume normal operating hours at the northern border’s ports of entry, including:
    • In multiple calls with Pete Flores, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Field Operations.
    • In a letter with Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to the leaders of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Committee.
    • Along with the North Dakota delegation, in a letter to then-CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus.
  • Helping introduce legislation to exempt non-U.S. citizen commercial truck drivers from proof of vaccination requirements when temporarily entering the United States through a land port of entry.
  • Urging President Joe Biden to reopen the U.S. border with Canada for trade and non-essential travel.

These efforts come in addition to Hoeven’s work to hold the Biden administration accountable and address the illegal immigration crisis along the nation’s southern border. Last year, the senator visited North Dakota National Guard members in Del Rio and Eagle Pass, Texas to highlight their mission in support of CBP operations and call attention to the ongoing illegal immigration crisis. Hoeven made similar trips to El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley to outline the need to stop illegal migration and prevent human and drug trafficking.