Border to Border: A Tale of Two Crossings Part 1

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What you think you may know about what's going on along our borders is only part of the story. Those who are on the ground in those areas are witnesses to what's really going on. Daniela Hurtado and Anthony Humes went to our southern and northern borders for a fresh perspective on what's happening with a special series, Border to Border: A Tale of Two Crossings.

Since the 2016 election cycle, illegal immigration has been a hot topic.

A lot of the talk has been about the southern border and adding more barriers along it. That brought up the question, with all the talk about Mexico what's happening on the northern frontier.

In this five-part series, Your News Leader traveled to Pembina, N.D. and El Paso, Texas to show you what's being done to protect the United States front door.

It may look just like a section line between two farmers’ fields, but it's part of the 4,000 mile border between the U.S. and Canada.

This 100 mile stretch is being protected by Patrol Agent In Charge Eric Kuhn and his team.

"A lot of places on the Southern Border there's a lot more volume and flow of people crossing the border. Here it's much more isolated and smaller groups," said Kuhn.

The amount of traffic entering from the North is just one of the difference's Kuhn says he sees. The terrain and weather conditions especially in North Dakota make it hard at times for agents to patrol.

"It's a two way street, if it's hard for us to get there it's hard for someone to get away from the border but weather can defienlty impact our operations," said Kuhn.

With the U.S.-Mexico border spanning 2,000 miles, patrolling a border twice the size requires help from local residents and local law enforcement.

"They live here they know who belongs here, they know who the residents are, they know who the visitors are. A lot of our apprehensions result from just a diligent resident noticing something out of place and giving n us a call," said Kuhn.

With such a large area to cover the agents on the ground can always use help from the skies.

"We'll provide that air support to track a suspect, to look for a missing person to provide whatever that task force needs," said Air and Marine Operations Deputy Director Dave Fulcher.

Air and Marine Operations use a number of different aircrafts including helicopters and drones.

Fulcher said: "We're able to fly this for roughly a day at a time for endurance. Gives us one of the state of the art camera system the gyro stabilized camera with a great infrared capability as well as the day time and low light technology."

People trying to enter the country illegally or smuggle drugs and other contraband into the country don't just try to come between the legal port of entries.

They also attempt to sneak drugs, people and child pornography past agents. That's where they're met by Customs and Border protection officers.

"Our primary mission of course is anti-terrorism and keeping terrorists and terrorists weapons out of the U-S. we have other missions as well, disrupting the flow of narcotics coming into the US and keeping individuals that are inadmissible into the United States out of the U.S.," said Christopher Misson, U.S. Customs and Border Protection assistant area port director.

Customs and Border Protection officers say it isn't getting tougher to find illicit items but Misson says people are getting more creative.

Misson said: "If we find it in one place today it's going to be somewhere else tomorrow. They're always evolving. The imagination is the limit."

Patrolling the border is like a game of cat and mouse with the methods used by border agents and criminals constantly changing.

Even though traffic in the North can't compare to the South, agents and officers say there's still an important job to do here to protect the American homeland.