On October 19, NHPR reported about New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu’s plan to expand patrols on the northern border with Canada.
The governor spoke in a press conference on the issue, stating concern over increased global tensions after the recent war in the Middle East, saying the national security implications “are becoming more and more obvious every day.”
This new “Northern Border Alliance Task Force” has a budget of $1.4 million according to Gov. Sununu and Attorney General John Formella, being made up of state, county and local forces. The goal of this new program is to increase patrolled hours to 10,000, up from 55 hours a month.
Frank Knaack, policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, has taken concern with this expansion of law enforcement funding, stating, “Policies like this have been shown in study after study to further undermine police and community trust, which makes our communities less safe. Make no mistake: we will be watching the actions of law enforcement, including how every dollar is spent, very closely.”
However, I don’t see the need for increased northern border protection. There appears to be no major influx of migrants. In a related article on April 5 by NHPR, Amanda Gokee of the Boston Globe adds that the plan is intended to focus on a 25-mile swath off the border and to curb any illicit activities. She also had voiced that the data was unclear of any real increase in border activity and the same is true in the most recent article as well. The only data it offers is from U.S. Customs and Border Protection with 5,970 illegal migrants from Oct. 1, 2022 – Aug. 31, 2023, an increase from 829, but these numbers cover a 295 mile stretch of border from N.H. to N.Y.
This seems to be overkill. I can understand concern over global tensions as we are in a very unsettling time right now, but I just can’t imagine it’s worth spending $1.4 million on patrolling the middle of nowhere. The increase in hours means instead of one person patrolling over the month, there would be 14 people working 12- hour shifts, patrolling 24/7. That money could be spent on a project that could help people in need, whether it be helping the homeless through housing or something else productive, not patrolling the woods. One of the most frustrating things is that Republican politicians cannot be bothered to pass legislation to help working people in the state but illegal migrants crossing is a bridge too far. I am all for allocating extra budgetary money; I just feel the homeless in Manchester take precedence over the trees of Pittsburgh.
Timothy Fitzpatrick can be contacted at