The number of migrants crossing the border from Canada to the US is increasing, by a sector of more than 700%, as more Mexicans desperate to enter the US fly into Canada and attempt to cross in freezing temperatures.

A family recently detained by Border Patrol in Vermont was carrying an 8-month-old baby in temperatures of -4 degrees Fahrenheit. A family photo shared by Customs and Border Protection on Facebook showed a man and woman carrying the baby and a 2-year-old boy in their arms through snow and ice in the dead of night.

Arrests in the area where the family was found, known as the Swanton Sector, which includes sections of Vermont, New York and New Hampshire, rose to 1,146 from October 1 to December 31, 2022, from just 136 the year before. . Across the northern border, crossings from Canada to the US increased from 16,000 to 42,000 over the same period, according to CBP data.

Mexicans are by far the top nationality crossing into the US in the Swanton sector, followed by Haitians and Guatemalans, according to CBP data.

US Border Patrol cameras capture migrants crossing the border into the US near Mooers, New York, during a winter storm last December.US Border Patrol Swanton Sector via Facebook

As the Biden administration continues to use Covid restrictions, through Title 42 policy, to block migrants at the southern border, Mexicans at those crossings are being turned away more than any other nationality, accounting for more 60% of all expulsions.

But for those who can afford the approximately $350 one-way plane ticket from Mexico to Montreal or Toronto, their chances of not being sent back under Title 42 are much better. A migrant, whose last name is Cruz and recently detained by Border Patrol and named in a court file, told border agents that he and his wife entered Canada legally by flying to Toronto.

The couple had trouble finding work in Canada, Cruz told border agents, so they attempted to cross into the US before being apprehended, according to the court filing.

Like migrants seeking to cross the southern border, organized criminal organizations also play a role in smuggling migrants into Canada.

In sub-zero temperatures, our #BorderPatrol agents continue to encounter families illegally crossing the border with children, like this recent event involving an 8-month-old and 2-year-old in Newport, Vt., on February 3, 2023. .
Night cameras along the US-Canada border capture a family with an 8-month-old and 2-year-old crossing south into Newport, Vt., on February 3.US Border Patrol Swanton Sector via Facebook

Cruz told border agents that he wired a man $1,000 as a deposit for him and his wife to enter the US, with the understanding that he would pay another $1,000 after crossing. He had hoped that he and his wife would eventually be brought to live and work in New York City, he said, before he was pulled over on Derby Line, Vermont, driving with a Chilean national, a man believed to be the smuggler. the one who paid .

“This area has been used in the past for people smuggling,” a border agent testified in court.

Border officials say they are concerned about freezing temperatures causing hypothermia in migrants, especially those with young children.

More families cross with their minor children through the northern border. From October 1 to December 31, 2022, 6,709 migrant families with children crossed into the US from Canada, compared to 1,500 during the same period in 2021. CBP has not yet released data on the number of undocumented immigrants who attempted to cross northern or southern borders in January.

Across the Vermont border, in the small Quebec town of Saint-Armand, a farmer told NBC News via Instagram that it’s not uncommon for locals to see immigrants crossing the border in both directions. He said locals know to leave immigrants alone when they see them crossing into the United States from Canada.

«Never take someone to [the] border was what they told me. Let them walk. Which is fine, since it’s two minutes,” said David McMillan, owner of Hayfield Farm, a property less than 1.2 miles from the US-Canada line.