Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.

cpb-logo

Recent Human Smuggling Cases Shine Light On Vermont-Canada Border

U.S. Border Patrol agent Richard Ross near the international border along Lake Memphremagog. Photo by Lorne Matalon for VPR

U.S. Border Patrol agent Richard Ross near the international border along Lake Memphremagog. Photo by Lorne Matalon for VPR

Over the first weekend in April, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 20 people for entering the country illegally in Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.

Helping people cross the border illegally — or human smuggling — is something people take for granted on the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico. But it’s also part of life on the northern border: Human smugglers and law enforcement are playing a cat-and-mouse game on the Vermont border.

Richard Ross is the Agent in Charge of the U.S. Border Patrol station in Newport, Vermont.

He’s a native Vermonter who previously worked in borderland Texas. Ross says the volumes are smaller and often the profiles are different. But, he says, the human smuggling from Canada on the northern border is a constant.

“It absolutely is sophisticated and organized,” said Ross.

Ross runs one of eight stations in the border patrol’s Swanton Sector.

It covers Vermont, five counties in New York and three counties in New Hampshire. There’s boundless tree cover within the sector, along with rivers and large lakes like Champlain and Memphremagog, with shoreline in both countries.

Visit VPR for the full story.