The police chief of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, has requested the state’s assistance to address the surge in illegal migrants dropped off into the community, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday.
St. Johnsbury Police Chief Timothy Page had asked Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott to help address the needs of illegal migrants after Border Patrol released roughly one dozen to his office on Saturday, he told the DCNF. The northern border, specifically in Border Patrol’s Swanton sector covering parts of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, has recently seen a surge in illegal immigration.
Border Patrol dropped off the group of around a dozen illegal migrants outside the St. Johnsbury welcome center, where they slept on the lobby’s floor due to a lack of resources for them in the area, Page said.
“We found transportation for them. They were looking to go to another place. I spoke with Border Patrol, the only reason they were sleeping in my lobby is because they were brought here too early. Border Patrol didn’t understand that, they said they’d bring them from now on during times that the Welcome Center is open,” Page said.
Border Patrol reported in February a roughly 846% increase in illegal migrant apprehensions in the Swanton sector, while the president of the National Border Patrol Council for the Swanton sector, Sean Walsh, told the DCNF that the situation is only expected to get worse.
“This has been happening for the last few years all over America. Now that it’s hitting small towns on the northern border, people are finally seeing the impacts,” Walsh said.
Border Patrol had apprehended the illegal migrants in a different area, but were transporting them to St. Johnsbury due to a lack of space, according to Page.
“Their [Border Patrol] main reason for bringing them here was for transportation purposes so they could catch a bus to places to get to their destination. So we were able to arrange transportation, and, in an effort to stem the tide before it got out of hand or to put services in place and get in front of this before it happened more, which it probably will because of the large amount of crossings, I got in touch with the governor’s office, who is in touch with his people to start getting some thoughts together and start putting stuff in place with local agencies to help them get prepared,” Page added.
Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott was made aware of the incident Monday evening, when he spoke with Page, Scott said during a Tuesday press conference.
Vermont Human Services Department Secretary Jenney Samuelson said that state agencies are working to address illegal migrants’ needs for “housing, food and other services,” she said during the news conference.
“Our partners at Border Patrol are seeing more than that, but the asylum-seekers tend to have a ride waiting for them on the other side of the border or they know that they just need to get to a bus terminal to go to another destination,” Vermont Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jennifer Morrison said, adding that they’re trying to get to New York and Boston.
“While a dozen people that crossed through communities is not a significant amount, I think that we need to be prepared should that number increase, particularly as the weather gets better,” Morrison added.
Scott’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment about Page’s request. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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