A video has emerged of armed right-wing militia members stopping over 300 migrants as they cross the Mexico border into the US state of New Mexico.
The group calls itself the United Constitutional Patriots, and are seen within the Fb clip standing over migrants sitting on the desert floor.
The group’s actions have been condemned by civil liberties teams and New Mexico state officers.
The militia helps President Donald Trump’s plan for a border wall.
The incident comes amid a spike in border crossings, regardless of White Home efforts to stem the inflow.
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What does the video present?
The video, recorded by group member Jim Benvie on 16 April, exhibits a big group of migrants who have been mentioned to have simply crossed the border close to Sunland Park, New Mexico, being detained by the armed vigilantes.
The group, which accommodates many ladies and kids, are seen sitting and squatting within the darkness and squinting up into the militia’s spotlights.
Earlier than Border Patrol brokers arrive to take custody of the migrants, a girl narrating the video tells a person who seems to be a militia member “do not purpose the gun” within the route of the households.
Mr Benvie, a spokesman for the United Constitutional Patriots, instructed the New York Occasions the group has been tenting within the area for the previous two months and plans to remain till Mr Trump succeeds in constructing his controversial border wall.
“If these individuals comply with our verbal instructions, we maintain them till Border Patrol comes,” Mr Benvie mentioned, describing the interplay as a “citizen’s arrest”.
“Border Patrol has by no means requested us to face down,” mentioned Mr Benvie, who’s visiting the area from his residence state of Minnesota.
What is the response?
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham mentioned in an announcement that the vigilantes had no authorized proper to cease anybody contained in the US.
“If migrant households are made to really feel threatened, that is fully unacceptable,” she mentioned.
“And it ought to go with out saying that common residents don’t have any authority to arrest or detain anybody.”
New Mexico Lawyer Basic Hector Balderas warned in an announcement that “these people mustn’t try and train authority reserved for regulation enforcement.”
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The American Civil Liberties Union described the group as an “armed fascist army organisation” in a letter to the governor and lawyer basic.
“The Trump administration’s vile racism has emboldened white nationalists and fascists to flagrantly violate the regulation,” they are saying.
“This has no place in our state: we can not enable racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain individuals looking for asylum. We urge you to right away examine this atrocious and illegal conduct.”
US Customs and Border Safety has beforehand mentioned they’re against civilians patrolling the border searching for unlawful crossers.