Located at the intersection of U.S. Interstate 91 and the Canadian town of Stanstead, the Border Patrol Station in Derby Line is one of the busiest 15 ports between the United States and Canada. It is operated by the Customs Border Protection (CBP) of the Division of Homeland Security.
The Difficulty of Maintaining a Border Crossing in a Joint City
The Derby Line Station provides some unique challenges to Border Patrol Agents who are employed there. The city was built straddling the U.S.-Canadian border, and the cities of Derby Line and Stanstead share water and sewer lines. Some of the local citizens live directly on the border and can cross international lines by backing out of their driveways.
For more than 200 years, three streets crossed the invisible border. Such access has been restricted as concerns about crime and illegal border crossings have increased in recent years. Much of the pressure to restrict access has come from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as immigrants have been illegally crossing into Canada from the U.S. to seek asylum under Canada’s more generous laws.
Two of the streets were blocked off in 2009, but Church Street remained open to traffic. This posed a security risk that was exploited by criminals who were able to cross the border at this street. As recently as June 2012, a felon was intercepted crossing the border into the U.S. at Church Street.
Tasked with protecting U.S. citizens from such criminals, Border Patrol agents in Derby Lane blocked off the street in 2012. Their mode of restriction made news, since they used colorful pots of flowers in anticipation of installing steel gates. Now all traffic must go through the Derby Line Station on Main Street.
The Role of Border Patrol Agents in Derby Line
Border Patrol jobs in Derby Line involve protecting U.S. citizens from potential criminals and drug smugglers. They need to be alert to suspicious behavior, since the blocked crossings do not always deter illegal crossings. In September 2011, a Croatian man involved in human smuggling slipped over the border and joined a waiting car before he was caught. Such events demonstrate the critical role of the U.S. Border Patrol agents in protecting the American public.