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Border Reality Check: Vermont Gets Up-close Look at ‘Invasion’

via NBC News
This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.

Residents in the small town of Swanton, Vermont have been dealing with a surge of migrant smuggling across the nearby Canadian border, in contrast to the focus on the US-Mexico border.

Local farmers and hunters are regularly encountering migrant groups on their properties and working closely with understaffed Border Patrol.

“Now I’ve got the Border Patrol guys on speed dial,” Swanton resident Chris Feeley said.

Over 12,000 migrants crossed the northern border illegally last year, with 70% through the Swanton sector near upstate NY, NH and VT.

Migrants fly into Canada and cross the less monitored northern border.

Locals now carry guns on Border Patrol’s advice and have witnessed groups using phones to navigate.

“He stopped right underneath me and was looking at his iPhone and was following a trail, so obviously somebody gave him a route of which way to go,” Feeley said.

“I was just stunned, I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I just let them walk off; I gave them 10 minutes before I went back to the barn to call Border Patrol.”

“The border patrol actually told us, ‘You guys might want to put a pistol in your backpack’ because nine out of 10 of them are just here for a better life, but there’s that one guy that’s got a rap sheet,” he said.

Their increased cooperation with Border Patrol involves reporting trail camera footage and helicopter searches unnerving homeowners.

“You have to give the Border Patrol credit — they’ve become a lot more willing to work with us,” dairy farmer Lawrence Rainville said. “They used to not trust any of us, but now they’re totally open with us. There’s still stuff they obviously can’t reveal — but they rely on us really.”

While most migrants just seek better lives, the situation has grown dangerous enough to change residents’ sense of safety.

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