"A right-wing militia group operating in southern New Mexico has begun stopping groups of migrant families and detaining them at gunpoint before handing them over to Border Patrol agents, raising tension over the tactics of armed vigilantes along the border between the United States and Mexico," writes Simon Romero at the New York Times.
They post videos to Youtube of themselves abusing migrants. Here is one such video.
We knew the armed volunteer mobs would do this. We knew Trump's incitements would encourage this. It's not by accident.
The group calls itself United Constitutional Patriots, and they've been around a while.
The videos include what look like official government vehicles used by Border Patrol agents. Are federal agents collaborating with lawless armed men to abuse the protected human rights of these people seeking asylum at our southern border?
From the report:
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.
Professed militias have long operated along the border with attempts to curb the flow of undocumented migrants into the United States. But targeting the recent influx of families, who are legally allowed to request asylum and often quickly surrender to Border Patrol agents, is raising tension with human rights activists in this part of the West.
The American Civil Liberties Union denounced the militia's actions in a letter on Thursday that asked New Mexico's governor and attorney general to investigate the group. The A.C.L.U. said the militia had no legal authority under New Mexico or federal law to detain or arrest migrants in the United States.
"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.
In a statement, Hector Balderas, New Mexico's attorney general, said: "These individuals should not attempt to exercise authority reserved for law enforcement."
"We're just here to support the Border Patrol and show the public the reality of the border," the racist group's leader says.