Patriot groups rallying against illegal aliens have operated at the southern border for years, but state and federal officials issued warnings after one group began detaining hundreds of people crossing the border at gunpoint.
In the middle of the night Tuesday, United Constitutional Patriots, an armed civilian group patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border in the Sunland Park area, detained more than 300 migrants who illegally crossed the border.
The group, who claim they are at the border to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,” is patrolling the desert near Sunland Park, New Mexico, searching for migrants.
In a video live-streamed on April 16 on Facebook by one of the United Constitutional Patriots’ members, the group is seen detaining a group of about 300 migrants, including children. The video starts in the middle of the incident with a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle and agents already at the scene.
In the video, the member repeatedly says, “This is an invasion … and it is never, never-ending” referring to the large number of Central American migrants crossing into the U.S. to seek asylum.
More details from AWM:
Although the militia group claims that they’re not violating any laws, many people disagree with that claim. That’s why the American Civil Liberties Union, a group that has been defending the constitution for decades, has called the militia group’s actions “unlawful” and wants there to be a criminal investigation.
The New Mexico ACLU wrote a letter to the Governor of New Mexico Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas requesting they “investigate an armed vigilante group currently engaged in the unlawful detention of hundreds of migrants near New Mexico’s southern border.”
The letter continues: “An armed fascist militia organization describing itself as the United Constitutional Patriots arrested nearly three hundred people seeking safety in the United States, including young children, near Sunland Park, New Mexico. Other videos appear to show arrests in the past few hours. The vigilante members of the organization, including Jim Benvie, who posted videos and photographs of the unlawful arrests to social media, are not police or law enforcement and they have no authority under New Mexico or federal law to detain or arrest migrants in the United States.”
In a statement, US Customs and Border Protection said the agency does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands.
“Interference by civilians in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequences for all parties involved,” a CBP official said. “Border Security operations are complex and require highly trained professionals with adequate resources to protect the country.”
Watch the video report below: