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While record numbers of foreign nationals continue to enter the U.S. across the southern border every month, one of the smallest states by geography and population has also been hit by the surge: Vermont.
Border Patrol and law enforcement agents told Center Plaza that Mexican cartels are now increasingly flying foreigners arriving in Mexico from around the world from Mexico City to Quebec. They say cartel scouts helped them enter the northern states illegally from Canada. Vermont had a record high number of illegal immigrants with a population of approximately 645,545.
More than 306,000 foreign nationals — nearly half of Vermont’s population — were apprehended or evaded arrest by law enforcement at the southern border in November, according to preliminary U.S. Customs and Border Protection data data Obtained from the central square. They primarily transit through Texas.
While Border Patrol agents in Texas are assisted by state Department of Public Safety officials and local law enforcement, there is no such border security operation in Vermont through Operation Lone Star, Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security mission .
But Vermont, which is part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Swanton division, saw a 676 percent increase in arrests of illegal aliens in October compared to last year, according to Border Patrol data.
Agents arrested 334 people from 19 countries in October and “the upward trend continues,” said Swanton District Chief Border Patrol Agent Robert Garcia.
The department relies on tips from Vermont residents reporting suspicious activity, Garcia said. On Tuesday, he thanked Northern Territory residents for giving Border Patrol agents “eyes” for reporting 112 suspicious activity in November. Their calls helped agents apprehend 139 illegal border crossers, he said. For Vermonters, he said, “your phone could be the one that helps us all stay safe.”
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Garcia also encouraged residents to call 1-800-689-3362 to report suspicious border-related activity.
Two recent examples show how Vermont residents are helping BP agents.
On November 18, a tip-off by a concerned citizen led to the arrest of five people who had entered the United States illegally near Champlain, New York. One of the Romanian citizens was issued an extraditable warrant in Wisconsin for failing to appear in court on identity theft charges, records show.
On November 14, BP agents rescued the illegal alien in freezing temperatures after receiving a 911 call. They came across six people near Troy, Vermont. Four were children under the age of 5. While they were able to get them to safety, the Swanton BP unit said in a statement, “This is not a safe or acceptable means of entering the United States.”
But it wasn’t just Vermonters who helped BP agents in Swanton. The same goes for the Canadian Mounted Police.
On the evening of October 27, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police informed Swanton BP agents that two people had entered the United States illegally in the remote rural area of Highgate Center, Vermont. A BP agent responded and observed the driver of a blue Hyundai sedan pulled up at the out-of-state registry at an intersection about half a mile south of the international border. Agents then saw two individuals emerge from a ditch near the intersection and get into the sedan.After stopping the vehicle and conducting a records check on the driver and passengers, agents learned that all three were Colombian citizens who had previously been arrested for entering the U.S. illegally
This time, the driver, Sebastian Buitrago-Valero, a 23-year-old Colombian with an address in Chicago, was arrested and charged with illegally transporting someone he knew to the U.S. illegally. people. The U.S. Attorney for the State of Vermont recently announced that on November 10, he was indicted by a federal grand jury.
Buitrago-Valero was arrested last November for illegally entering the United States. However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted that, in accordance with Biden administration policy, he was released to the U.S. pending immigration court proceedings.
His passenger re-entered the United States illegally after being arrested in early 2022 for entering the country illegally.
Of the 20 CBP districts across the country, Swanton covers approximately 24,000 square miles and covers three states. It includes all of Vermont, six counties in New York (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Hamilton, and Herkimer) and three counties in New Hampshire (Coos, Grafton, and Carroll) .
It is the first international land border east of the Great Lakes and borders the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. It includes 295 miles of international boundaries, of which 203 miles are land boundaries and 92 miles are water boundaries, primarily along the St. Lawrence River.
To the west of it is the District of Buffalo, which includes most of New York and four other states. To the east of it is the Halton District, which includes the state of Maine.