Frustrated by what he argues is a lack of support by President Biden’s administration, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire is taking matters into his own hands to help secure his state’s northern border with Canada.
Sununu announced on Thursday that he’ll use $1.4 million in funding from New Hampshire’s current budget to boost tenfold patrols by state and local law enforcement along the 58-mile border.
While acknowledging that the deteriorating situation along America’s northern border is overshadowed by the crisis along the southern border with Mexico, the governor emphasized that “there have been more apprehensions along our northern border in just this past year than in the last ten years combined.”
“Encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list at the ports of entry on the northern border have doubled since 2017,” Sununu highlighted.
And he “warned that “there’s national security implications to securing the northern border that are becoming more and more obvious every day.”
Sununu, accompanied by state attorney general John Formella and state law enforcement leaders, said that “it is made very clear to us” by those on the front lines along the border “that we do need more targeted resources. We need to provide an all hands-on-deck approach.”
The governor and Formella announced the creation of the Northern Border Alliance Task Force. They said the partnership between state, county and local law enforcement, and forest rangers and Fish and Game officers, will increase border patrol hours from roughly 55 per month to a total of 10,000 hours in the next 18 months.
Sununu, a vocal critic of the Biden administration, took aim at Washington.
“We asked the federal government for help. We’ve been denied,” he charged. “There’s nothing that’s come from the federal government. No additional efforts out of the federal government.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a former governor and the senior member of New Hampshire’s all Democratic congressional delegation, visited the border last month on a fact finding trip.
The senator pledged to address the problems at the border and to provide more funding. And Shaheen and her office criticized Sununu.
“Time and time again, the Governor has neglected to fully utilize the money our delegation has provided New Hampshire,” Shaheen press secretary Ty McEachern argued.
Sununu vehemently disagreed.
“I laugh at anyone who tries to criticize us when we’re the only ones actually doing anything and taking the issue seriously,” he charged.
Across the entire northern border – from Maine to Washington State – there were 7,633 encounters until the end of July this fiscal year, compared to 2,238 for all of FY 2022 and 916 in all of FY 2021.
While soaring, the figures are eclipsed by the enormous numbers at the southern border, where there are typically more than 200,000 encounters a month. However, it still forms a considerable challenge for the smaller staffed areas along the northern border.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and the Associated Press contributed to this report