A total of 22 House Republicans sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas this week expressing “serious concern” to the Biden administration over an “unprecedented surge in apprehensions” seen along the northern U.S.-Canada border amid an “orchestrated” crisis. 

Leading the charge were Reps. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., and Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., co-chairs of the Northern Border Security Caucus, along with Northern Border Security Caucus members Rep. Nick Langworthy, R-N.Y., and House Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. They sounded the alarm about a 114% increase in apprehensions along the northern border this fiscal year so far, compared to the first four months of FY2023. 

In the 2023 fiscal year, Border Patrol agents apprehended 10,021 aliens illegally crossing the border between ports of entry, including 2,229 apprehensions in the first four months alone. In the first four months of the 2024 fiscal year, through January 2024, the Border Patrol has already apprehended 4,772 subjects along the northern border, according to Kelly’s office. 

Speaking to Fox News Digital after the congressman’s recent trip to the southern border this week, Zinke discussed how the crisis is impacting the northern border as well. 

“I can tell you in one word, it’s Biden,” Zinke said when asked what the problem is. “This administration has full authority to shut down the border in part or in total, and they choose not to, and they have the funding.”


Mayorkas speaks during Biden's border visit

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks as President Biden listens at the Brownsville Station on Feb. 29, 2024 in Olmito, Texas.  (Cheney Orr/Getty Images)

Zinke explained that there are “significant” increases in numbers at the northern border, adding, “It’s not the volume. It’s also what’s what’s showing up at the northern border, because there are a number of individuals, hundreds on the terrorist watch list and many more that aren’t found that are coming through the northern border.”

“In many ways, the northern border is not as arduous or not as dangerous as the southern border,” he said. “But people are walking across the border in the northern border, and there’s really no one out there … and there’s a lot of areas you just don’t have a fence and a lot of areas don’t have a promise of fence.”

In their letter, lawmakers told Mayorkas, “[A]s temperatures reach sub-zero levels along some of the coldest regions in the United States on Northern Border and Border Patrol agents continue to conduct life-saving search and rescue missions, you continue to insist that you are managing the border in a safe, orderly and humane manner by providing ‘legal pathways’ to otherwise inadmissible aliens.” 

Rep. Zinke claps on the House floor

Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., left, applauds for Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., on the House floor on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The letter expanded upon Kelly’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in November amid reports from U.S. Customs & Border Protection, which showed an alarming number of suspects on the terror watchlist who are crossing into the United States along the northern border with Canada. 

“More alarmingly, the surge of Terrorist Screening Data Set (TSDS) encounters at the Northern Border continue to skyrocket. Through the first four months of FY 2024, there have been 103 encounters with individuals at ports of entry at the Northern Border, compared to just eight at Southwest Border ports of entry,” the letter says. “This is not a new phenomenon. In FY 2023, the Northern Border had 484 TSDS encounters at ports of entry, compared to 80 at the Southwest Border.” 


“Dangerous individuals continue to take advantage of the vast Northern Border, which is the longest land border between two countries in the world, and relatively unguarded by natural barriers,” the lawmakers added. The northern border has also seen “a dangerous spike in drug smuggling, particularly fentanyl and other synthetic opioids,” the letter says. CBP seized nearly double the amount of fentanyl – the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45 – in the first four months of FY 2024 than it did throughout the entirety of FY23 at the northern border, the lawmakers wrote. 

Rep. Mike Kelly on Capitol Hill

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., arrives to a meeting with House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol Building on Oct. 19, 2023 in Washington, D.C.  (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“While the Southwest Border has been overrun with drug smugglers, we cannot allow another avenue for deadly, illegal drugs into our country and our communities,” the lawmakers wrote. “In FY 2024 alone, Border Patrol agents are on track to apprehend a record number of illegal immigrants at the Northern border. These statistics are yet another example of how the Biden administration is downplaying the serious nature of this orchestrated border crisis. Every state has now become a border state under your leadership – or lack thereof.”


The letter demands Mayorkas answer how DHS plans to address the strains experienced by local communities and Border Patrol agents along the northern border due to the surge in illegal immigration and drug smuggling, what specific policies DHS is implementing to secure the northern border and prevent further increases in illegal activities, what strategies are being employed to enhance detection and interception of drugs given the “alarming spike” in drug smuggling by transnational criminal organizations, and what resources are being allocated to support Border Patrol agents “facing morale challenge due to the scale of the border crisis.” 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *