ACLU Warns of “Fascist Militia” Holding Migrant Border Crossers at Gunpoint

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Image Credit: YouTube: True Conservatives Minutes

The American Civil Liberties Union is warning that armed vigilantes are working directly with the U.S. Border Patrol to unlawfully detain hundreds of migrants at gunpoint along the U.S.-Mexico border. The ACLU cites videos posted on social media showing members of a militia group pursuing migrants in New Mexico’s desert west of El Paso, Texas, and effectively kidnapping them against their will. In one video, vigilantes armed with assault rifles are seen approaching a group of several dozen people seated on the ground, as the video’s narrator, a man named Jim Benvie, films.

Jim Benvie: “Hey, guys. This is Jim with the United Constitutional Patriots and We Build the Wall. … As you can see, we did actually end up getting everybody wound up. It was a combination of us and some good horses over there and basically a team effort here.”

In a letter to New Mexico’s governor and attorney general calling for an investigation, the ACLU called the United Constitutional Patriots an “armed fascist militia organization,” adding, “The Trump administration’s vile racism has emboldened white nationalists and fascists to flagrantly violate the law.”

US arrests ‘member of border militia’ in New Mexico

A member of Constitutional Patriots New Mexico Border Ops Team militia is pictured on patrol at the US-Mexico borderMembers of the United Constitutional Patriots have been seen patrolling with weapons

US authorities have arrested an alleged member of a militia that has been stopping migrants trying to cross the US-Mexico border.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, was detained in New Mexico as a felon in possession of a weapon.

It comes just days after a video emerged of militia members detaining dozens of migrants in the desert.

The group, United Constitutional Patriots, has been condemned by civil rights groups and local officials.

“This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” said New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.

“Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”

While his statement said Mr Hopkins had been arrested as a felon, it did not specify what the underlying conviction had been.

The alleged militia member is expected to appear in court on Monday.

United Constitutional Patriots, a small volunteer group, argues it is helping US Border Patrol to deal with a surge in migrants crossing America’s southern border. It is one of several militias operating in the region.

As details of this week’s latest video emerged, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said on Twitter that “menacing or threatening migrant families and asylum seekers is absolutely unacceptable and must cease”.

US Customs and Border Protection have previously said they are opposed to civilians patrolling the border in search of illegal crossers.