Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico. told Democracy Now that the U.S. Border Patrol may be supporting a pro-Trump group of vigilantes, the United Constitutional Patriots, who recently detained asylum seekers by force without legal authority to do so:
There’s plenty of video evidence—I think you just showed some—that suggests that the Border Patrol is actively collaborating with these folks, despite the fact that they’ve made a public statement saying that they neither condone nor endorse their activity.
We have plenty of video documentation showing Border Patrol showing up to take the folks that they have illegally detained into custody. There are pictures of the Constitutional Patriot folks posing in photos with Border Patrol on horseback. There seems to have been a fairly easy and cooperative relationship between the vigilante group and the Border Patrol.
And, you know, the question I am left with is: Why did no one tell these folks to cease and desist? And if the Border Patrol is in fact a law enforcement agency, even if they themselves were not going to initiate an investigation into these folks, why couldn’t they have called upon FBI to look into the matter?
We met with the U.S. attorney here in New Mexico late last night—late yesterday afternoon and asked him what has been done to tell these folks to stop what they’re doing. And, you know, he could only share so much, but it’s my understanding, from—I have been given no evidence to say that any federal authority has told these folks they need to stop what they’re doing.
And so, you know, our key concern is that families’ safety, families’ welfare is at stake here. You look at those videos, and what you see is literally dozens of families huddled in the sand in a remote part of the desert in the dead of night, surrounded by men in military camouflage, masked many times, with heavy weaponry, semiautomatic weapons in some instances.
You can only imagine a situation where somebody reaches for something in their pocket, pulls out a cellphone, and it looks like a firearm. And you have a gunfight that ensues. Those kinds of tragedies are the ones we have been really trying to move to avoid.
(Source: Democracy Now. Photo Credit: El Paso Times)