CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The pandemic is affecting everything, even security patrols along our northern border.
The patrols haven’t stopped—but 19 Investigates learned U.S. Border Patrol encounters in our region are down nearly 60% this year.
This comes as fewer people travel back and forth between the United States and Canada.
Officials just announced the U.S.-Canadian border will remain closed for non-essential travel for at least another month to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The border has now been shut down for non-essential travel for seven months.
Latest enforcement numbers
19 Investigates found encounters with U.S. Border Patrol dropped significantly in our area this year, affected by less travel during the pandemic.
Lake Erie is our natural border between the U.S. and Canada.
It is continuously patrolled by local, state, and federal agencies to keep you safe.
Border patrol agents are on the lookout for everything from drug and gun smuggling to human trafficking and terrorism.
Northeast Ohio falls under the Detroit Sector for U.S. Border Patrol, covering four states-- Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.
That includes hundreds of miles of international water.
The latest numbers show in this region, U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions from Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2020, are at 757.
During the same time period in 2019, there were 1,767 apprehensions.
Border Patrol said their encounters decreased 57% this year.
Even with the pandemic, border patrol agents have apprehended people from 45 different countries across our northern border so far this year.
In 2019, they apprehended subjects from 68 different countries.
Since 2014, The Detroit Sector have arrested people from 133 different countries.
Agents have also arrested 47 undocumented immigrants in the Detroit Sector so far this year.
They arrested 136 people during the same time period last year.
The U.S.-Canadian border stretches about 5,000 miles and is the longest and busiest land boundary in the world.
U.S. Border Patrol said the pandemic did have an impact on their apprehensions across the entire country, not just in our area.
You can read more about their national Fiscal Year 2020 statistics here.
The southern border with Mexico is not open yet either.
You can be denied entry if your trip is considered “non-essential.”
U.S. Homeland Security officials say Canada, Mexico and the United States will extend travel restrictions through November 21 to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.