Border Crossing and Arrest
An unnamed man was arrested after attempting to illegally enter the United States from Canada. He had previously tried to enter legally at the port of entry in Niagara Falls but was denied entry by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). After being turned back to Canadian border officials, he was apprehended two days later while trying to enter illegally between the ports of entry near the Whirlpool Bridge port of entry.
Expedited Removal and Safe Third Country Agreement
In November, the man was served with an expedited order of removal, and earlier this month, he was deported to Canada based on the Safe Third Country agreement between the two countries. The agreement allows for the return of individuals who attempt to enter one country from the other without legal permission.
Law Enforcement Partnership and National Security
Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Buffalo Field Office Director, Thomas Brophy, emphasized the importance of the strong law enforcement partnership between ERO Buffalo and Canadian authorities. He stated, “The Canadian resident’s return to Canada to face charges is due to the dedicated officers on both sides of the border, working in tandem, to provide public safety for our communities.”
Security Concerns at the Land Borders
The arrest comes at a time of heightened concerns regarding potential terrorist threats entering the United States through land borders. While much attention has been placed on the southern border, where officials are dealing with a high influx of migrants, the northern border has also experienced a significant increase in encounters.
Terror Watch List and Security Environment
In the fiscal year 2023, there were 484 encounters at ports of entry with individuals on the FBI’s terror watch list and three such encounters between ports of entry. A threat assessment published in October highlighted the growing number of encounters with individuals on the watch list and warned about the potential exploitation of the complex security environment to enter the United States. The assessment also stated that individuals with terrorism connections seek to use established travel routes and permissive environments to gain access to the country.
Concerns and Screening Processes
FBI Director Christopher Wray has expressed concerns about individuals who evade Border Patrol and enter the United States as “gotaways.” Officials have emphasized that encounters with individuals on the watch list are rare and have highlighted the multi-layered screening processes in place to identify and prevent individuals with terror ties from entering the country. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) works tirelessly to secure the borders through a combination of highly trained personnel, monitoring systems, and intelligence sharing networks.