As pressure mounts among President Donald Trump’s supporters to complete the border wall he promised as a candidate, some Americans have decided to take border security into their own hands.
The United Constitutional Patriots is a militia stationed near the Mexican border in New Mexico. Reports indicate the armed individuals are prepared to remain at the location for the long haul.
Their camp reportedly includes an old trailer and a few tents. “Striker,” as the militia’s septuagenarian leader is known, explained what he claims is their goal.
“We’re here to assist the border patrol because they are so short handed,” he said. “We have a good work rapport with them.”
He said the group plans to remain near the border “until we’re not needed.”
Further elaborating on his timeline, he said that “when we’re not needed is when that wall is up.”
They see their role as keeping an eye on the border, pursuing immigrants and serving as guard over those who want to turn themselves in to proper authorities.
Militia member Jim Benvie described it as “kind of no different than if you were to have citizen’s arrest powers, if you will.”
Of course, their behavior has attracted plenty of criticism. The U.S. Border Patrol clearly stated it “does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands.”
And Mark Pitcavage of the Anti Defamation League takes it even further. He said members of this militia “seem to be living in a fantasy world of their own.”
While their stance has been tied to racism or xenophobia by some critics, Benvie disagrees.
“Countries having borders is not racist,” he said. “It’s not about race. We have Latinos that work on our team with us.”