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Shaheen Urges U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas to Release New Hampshire-Specific Border Encounter Data

(Washington, DC) – This week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the importance of protecting New Hampshire’s border. In the letter, Shaheen calls for the release of New Hampshire-specific migrant encounter data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which have not been made available despite the Senator’s request. Her letter also requests an expansion of telecommunications infrastructure and attention to other resources to assist law enforcement in the region. The Senator’s letter comes as the number of the migrant encounters on the Northern border rose compared to last year’s data.

In her letter, the Senator wrote: “Given the unique challenges on the Northern border and the sudden increase in encounters this year, attention to the specific needs of this sector is urgently needed. ...New Hampshire needs accurate information about what is happening within its borders to ensure border security and law enforcement needs are being met.”

The CBP discloses data by Border Patrol sector and for almost all land border states. However, because New Hampshire’s data is logged under a Vermont-based station, the agency does not currently disclose New Hampshire-specific data related to the number of encounters occurring in the state. In this letter, the Senator urges DHS to release the New Hampshire-specific migrant encounter data.

The Senator continued, “Unfortunately, CBP has not yet provided the specific number of encounters that have occurred in New Hampshire, despite repeated requests from my office for this data...I am reiterating my request that you provide this information immediately.... It is also critical that federal, state and local law enforcement officers have the technology and infrastructure needed to support interoperable communications across the region. I ask that you explore any and all available avenues to address telecommunications challenges along New Hampshire’s Northern border.”

Along New Hampshire’s Northern border, a lack of radio tower infrastructure creates significant barriers for law enforcement to effectively communicate. Expanding telecommunications infrastructure in the region would assist federal, state and local law enforcement partners and strengthen the Northern border’s security. In addition, the Senator calls for resources to be committed to ensure our international border crossing facilities are fully equipped to perform their vital duties. This includes access to reliable, high-speed internet connections as well as electricity.

Read the full letter here.

The CBP’s recently-released data for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 shows a total of 6,925 encounters in the Swanton Sector, of which 1,551 were in either Vermont or New Hampshire. For comparison, in FY 2022 CBP shows just 1,065 migrant encounters in the Swanton Sector, with only 387 of those occurring in Vermont or New Hampshire. The U.S. Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector encompasses New Hampshire’s border, as well as Vermont’s and five counties in New York.

Senator Shaheen has long advocated for and worked to enhance protections at our Northern border. Last month, Shaheen visited officials in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, to receive a briefing on immigration enforcement efforts and ongoing communications challenges due to the remoteness of the area and lack of technology infrastructure. During the current appropriations cycle, Senator Shaheen continues to advocate for funding for the Northern border. When she was the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, she oversaw increased funding for CBP and included direction to the Department of Homeland Security to focus on the Northern border. As Governor, and in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she worked on a bipartisan basis with the New Hampshire State Legislature to increase security at the border and at ports of entry.