Armed militia detaining asylum seekers at gunpoint along US-Mexico border


Armed militia detaining asylum seekers at gunpoint along US-Mexico border

Meenakshi Jagadeesan and Niles Niemuth

20 April 2019

Armed right-wing militias have been systematically detaining asylum-seekers at gunpoint along the US-Mexico border in operations that are apparently coordinated with the federal Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agency.

The role of one particular group in detaining immigrants, the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), came to light this week after the group uploaded several videos on social media, showing its members masked, dressed in camouflage, heavily armed and walking with dogs as they “patrolled” the border and corralled several hundred asylum seekers in Sunland Park, New Mexico, just outside El Paso, Texas.

While the border region has seen vigilante patrols by armed militias in the past, this latest development marks an even more dangerous turn, with the Trump administration appearing to give full rein to these fascist elements.

Heavily armed vigilantes on the US-Mexico border (Source: United Constitutional Patriots Facebook page)

Trump has actively encouraged the growth of vigilante groups by whipping up a xenophobic hysteria over the border, deploying thousands of active duty soldiers to border states and declaring a national emergency in order to use Pentagon funds to build a border wall, in violation of the US Constitution. He has repeatedly echoed fascist rhetoric, referring to migrants seeking asylum in the US as gang members and “invaders,” while publicly musing about the use of machine guns to deter border crossers.

During a visit to the US-Mexico border earlier this month, the president reportedly told the director of the CBP to bar asylum seekers from entering the US, a violation of international and US law, and…

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