As New Hampshire officials announced 10,000 additional law enforcement patrol hours over the next year and a half at the state’s border with Canada, they pointed to data showing 430 people on the terrorist watch list who attempted to cross the country’s northern border last fiscal year, more than pm the southern border. On Thursday, Gov. Chris Sununu and Attorney General John Formella introduced the Northern Border Alliance Task Force, a $1.4 million initiative. Over the last year, the Swanton Sector of U.S. Border Patrol has seen more than 6,000 apprehensions, “a significant rise” and “more than the previous 11 years combined,” said Formella. In the last year, Sununu said, 85% of all land border encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list occurred at the northern border, while only 15% occurred on the southern border, the New Hampshire Bulletin reports. “Obviously the huge proportion of overall encounters … happen on the southern border,” Sununu said. “The fact that they’re clearly making a concerted effort to use Canada and the northern border as their access point into the United States … just kind of brings a heightened awareness."
Until now, Sununu had justified the additional border patrols as necessary to respond to a jump in illegal border activity. He and Formella said Thursday it will also be a proactive effort to patrol the border, looking for illegal activity. State, local, and county law enforcement that choose to participate in the increased border effort will have access to approximately $1.4 million for training and equipment, and have the authority to patrol within 25 miles of the Canadian border, Formella said. Local and county officers who join the task force will receive the same legal guidance and protections provided to state law enforcement. That includes indemnification, meaning if they are sued, they and their police departments won’t be left to defend themselves. The task force will log an expected 10,000 hours of patrols by June 2025. "What we’re focusing on today is border security,” he said. “Protecting against illegal crossings, assisting the federal government with protecting against illegal crossings. We’re not talking about immigration enforcement in the rest of the state.” Security efforts Sununu added, will in turn protect every citizen, “regardless of your background.”