The small town of Burke is located in the Northeastern tip of New York state and shares a border with the Canadian province of Quebec. As of 2010, the official population of Burke (which includes to North Burke border crossing station) was 1,456, according to the United State Census Bureau. The area surrounding the border crossing station is heavily wooded and mostly rural. Traffic is very low compared to most, if not all, border crossing stations in the United States of America, and even more so during the snow-heavy Winter months.
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North Burke is home to United States Route 11, which is considered a major east-west route, but does not cross into Canada. Since the town is so small and the border crossing traffic is also low, the North Burke border crossing station only employs a handful of border agents.
Border Agents Primary Duties
Agents at the North Burke station are asked to perform more duties than the average border agent, but because of the low traffic. Yet, the small staff does allow for more in-depth training and opportunities to reach out into the community and collaborate with local law enforcement agencies- which is not something that is available to most other border agents (especially ones employed at stations with larger staffs.)
Border patrol jobs in North Burke require agents to verify documents for people crossing the border (i.e. checking birth certificates, passports and other documents) and to occasionally interview and search cars and people when needed. The border traffic at North Burke only goes one way (into Canada) since the Canadian side of the border crossing closed due to low-traffic, high-costs and new measures employed by the Canadian border agency.
Possible Closure of North Burke
In 2011, a nearby border crossing station received a $6.8 million upgrade, which has raised the possibility that the North Burke station will close. The decision to close the North Burke border crossing station has raised concerns from community members because the communities on each side of the border are more intertwined than most other border towns shared by Canada and the United States.
The low traffic made it easy for residents of both towns to cross the border whenever they pleased. In the end, the closure of the North Burke border station was enacted as a way to cut costs, according to the United States Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP.)