Texas Border Town: Armed Groups (Militias) Arrive to Look for Migrants

Texas is a South-Central state of the US. In the southeast, it has a 560km border on the Gulf of Mexico and a 3,169 km long border with Mexico along the Rio Grande. Its border towns are El Paso, Presidio, Candelaria, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo, Roma, and McAllen among others.

According to reports by the US government, between September 2020 and September 2022, almost 2 million unauthorized immigrants entered the United States.

In another report in 2018 by the American immigration council, 2018, 17 percent (4.9 million) of the population in Texas are immigrants. It has 2.3 million women, 2.3 million men, and 319,331 children who were immigrants. 4.5 million people in Texas (16 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

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Texas Immigration Law

In Texas, because the State law allows immigrants to be arrested for trespassing, armed citizens are coming over to the border towns to arrest immigrants; taking laws into their hands, most times, they are welcomed by county officials to carry out the raid. The groups say their goal is to intercept the migrants they find and send them to law enforcement to be arrested.

Group of Militias

These groups are not with the United States Border Patrol, neither are they with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) nor under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They are vigilante groups.

Mr. Coe, a former Border Patrol agent, said he was looking for any help trying to divert migrant traffic elsewhere.

“If the whole migrants base know that they will be arrested, they will go somewhere else,” he said.

State Said No to Militias

On the contrary, State officials have discredited the operations of these private groups. It is bad enough that these groups are impersonating law enforcement.

There have been loads of complaints filed against these groups with the US Department of justice by the ACLU and nine other organizations on Wednesday. It is more disturbing that Kinney County has also supported these private groups.

Over the summer, county leaders and Gov. Greg Abbott declared the border situation a disaster, which led to the launch of an experimental state effort to enforce federal immigration law, using state troops to arrest and jail immigrants on charges of abuse.

More than 2000 arrests were made under a program called Operation Lone Star and most of these arrays were made in Kinney County. This means there is an official effort on the ground to tackle immigration problems hence no need for militias or vigilantes.

We are here because God has called us and we will keep working.

Samuel Hall, leader of a North Texas-based group called the Patriots for America Militia, said that team is a group of volunteers who patrol the public property, searching for immigrants who may have crossed the border illegally, providing humanitarian assistance when necessary. and call officers when needed.

Mr. Hall said he does not forcibly detain anyone, which would be illegal. That said, he said he knows foreigners encountering heavily armed men may not understand this.

Another group, Ms. Hutcherson said her organization is not a militia. She said that she believes in working through law enforcement channels. saying, “I’m not an extremist. I’m a patriot.”

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Kate Huddleston, a staff attorney for the ACLU, said the organization is concerned with both the actions of private organizations and the county’s potential involvement with one of the agitations. Ms. Huddleston said a group interfering with someone’s free travel based on suspicion of being an expatriate is an interference with the rights of others.

“Kinney County has sought to partner with not only the militias but war contractors,” she said. “This indicates a level of militarization that is particularly concerning and dangerous to the potential for violence.”

Mr. Hall leader of a North Texas-based group called the Patriots for America Militia said the objections would not distract him.

“We are here because God has called us and we will keep working,” he said.

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