Increased traffic and jarring deaths: Uptick in unauthorized US-Canada border crossings rattles officials

A family of four perished in a blizzard on this border nearly two years ago. Amid an increase in crossings, authorities on both sides of the international boundary fear it could happen again. Cpl. James Buhler of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police points to where authorities found the bodies of the Patel family, who died attempting to cross into the United States in January 2022. The berm he is standing on is in Canada, while the field to his left is in the United States. (Andrew J. Nelson/Courthouse News) EMERSON, Manitoba (CN) — In the Red River Valley on the U.S.-Canada border near Minnesota, the plains can seem as flat as a tabletop. There are few trees to stop the cold winds and almost no place to shelter. There’s also little in terms of landmarks, making it easy to get disoriented. That’s likely what happened nearly two years ago, when a family from India died here while crossing on foot into the United States during a blizzard. Amid skyrocketing crossing numbers on the northern border — and with changes to US and Canadian law regarding asylum seekers — officials on both sides of this permeable boundary fear that it’s just a matter of time before another such tragedy happens. “Winter is coming,” Cpl. James Buhler of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said as he showed Courthouse News around the Canadian side of the border in late November. “If we don’t find them and they are hiding, our biggest fear is that they will succumb to the temperatures.” The United States in recent years has seen a surge of unauthorized crossings on its borders. Over the 2023 fiscal year, which ended on September 30, authorities caught around 3.2 million people trying to enter the United States without proper documentation, according […]

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By Donato