Human rights activists are unhappy that “militias” are detaining
illegal immigrants migrants who have entered the United States illegally. The group is operating in southern New Mexico and turns over the intercepted groups to the border patrol.
Members of the group, which calls itself the United Constitutional Patriots, filmed several of their actions in recent days, including the detention this week of a group of about 200 migrants who had recently crossed the border near Sunland Park, N.M., with the intention of seeking asylum. They uploaded videos to social media of exhausted looking migrant families, blinking in the darkness in the glare of what appeared to be the militia’s spotlights.
The New York Times tells us that the groups “are legally allowed to request asylum and often quickly surrender to Border Patrol agents.” If they turn the groups over to the Border Patrol what’s the problem? Well the ACLU has a problem and asked the New Mexico governor and attorney general to look into the situation. “We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum,” two lawyers for the A.C.L.U., María Martínez Sánchez and Kirsten Greer Love, said in the letter.
Notice how this group is described as “racist,” even though we haven’t learned anything about them that would suggest they are, in fact, racist. The men aren’t executing anyone they are calling the border patrol over to handle. New Mexico AG Hector Balderas said “These individuals should not attempt to exercise authority reserved for law enforcement.” Is it a crime to hold a suspect until the authorities arrive?
“We’re just here to support the Border Patrol and show the public the reality of the border,” said Mr. Benvie, 43, a member of the militia. “If these people follow our verbal commands, we hold them until Border Patrol comes. Border Patrol has never asked us to stand down.”
The governor of New Mexico is also not pleased.
The governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, said in a statement that it was “completely unacceptable” that migrant families “might be menaced or threatened in any way, shape or form when they arrive at our border.”
“It should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone,” she added.
A spokesman for the border patrol would not discuss the United Constitutional Patriots but said “does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands.”
Image from Getty Images