by Brian Hayes
In the southeasternmost pocket of the U.S. state of New Mexico, with El Paso, Texas, to the east and Mexico a stone’s throw south, there is a small camp: a dozen tents and a weathered trailer.
It is home to the three dozen or so members of the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) — a small but growing, well-armed militia doing their part to help a beleaguered Border Patrol with the crisis currently rocking the Mexican border.
In recent months, thousands of migrants have arrived in Mexico, primarily Central Americans seeking to take advantage of lax asylum rules put in place by the Obama Administration, which President Trump has been blocked from reversing by district judges the former president appointed.
Record numbers have streamed across, often with children in tow (which
are very often not their own) to virtually guarantee entry.
Trump has signed a National Emergency to try and stop the border crisis, asking for $5 billion to build a wall on the southern border, from a Congress which has fought him for 2 years — both under former Speaker Paul Ryan and his current Democrat adversaries.
The resignation of Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday, underscores the dire need to get a handle on the border invasion — and put new stretches of border wall in place as soon as possible.
And until that wall is built, the UCP insist they will be there.
“We’re here to assist the border patrol because they are so short handed,” the group’s leader, 70-year-old “Striker,” told AFP.
“We have a good work rapport with them,” he said. “Our goal was to be here until we’re not needed. And when we’re not needed is when that wall is up.”
Based out of Flora Vista, New Mexico, the group — made up mostly of older veterans — enjoys an enthusiastic social media following. Striker can be heard fielding calls during lengthy radio broadcasts streamed online several times a week.
And if you want to sign up to “uphold and defend the constitution?” Just pick up the phone or message them on Facebook.
Out in the field — with tactical gear, rifles and even custom patches — the UCP say their duties include watching the border, standing guard over people who want to hand themselves in to border patrol and pursuing those who don’t.
“It’s kind of no different than if you were to have citizen’s arrest powers, if you will,” Jim Benvie, a 43-year-old from Minnesota, told AFP.
Interesting enough, as much as the U.S. is derided by Mexico for its “tough and cruel” immigration enforcement, in Mexico average citizens actually DO have the right to make citizens’ arrests of suspected illegal aliens.
The embattled left-wing “watch” group Southern Poverty Law Center has derided the border vigilante movement, documenting what they term “questionable apprehensions of migrants by private citizens” from as far back as 1999. The SPLC declares such groups as “white supremacists,” without evidence.
But even the Anti Defamation League’s Mark Pitcavage says he sees no such proof of that with this militia group. Pitcavage says that although the movement is grounded in anti-immigrant sentiment, “white supremacy among followers is actually minimal — and we see no such elements within the UCP.”
UCP member Jim Benvie’s laughs off the SPLC’s charges. “Countries having borders is not racist.”
“It’s not about race. We have plenty of Latinos that work on our team with us.”