A Los Angeles Times investigation found that Border Patrol and local law enforcement agencies in the vicinity of Eagle Pass, Texas, are working at times alongside “Patriots for America,” an armed conservative Christian citizen militia that the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas accuses of espousing White supremacist beliefs.
A Times reporter witnessed militia members intercepting and interviewing migrant children in the field as Border Patrol agents look on.
— Molly Hennessy-Fiske, “Border militia stops migrants and shoots video of kids. Rights groups say they’re racist” (Eagle Pass: Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2022) https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-05-13/texas-border-militia.
An article at the Border Chronicle covered “Veterans on Patrol,” a QAnon-affiliated citizen militia group in rural Arizona that has interdicted hundreds of unaccompanied children when they cross the border. While the militia turns the kids over to Border Patrol, its members “take the phone numbers of the children’s sponsors and, in some cases, confront the sponsors at their homes in the United States.”
Border Chronicle reporter Melissa del Bosque questioned why Border Patrol permits the militia group to carry out these activities, including leaving no presence but “Veterans on Patrol” at gaps in the border wall where children regularly cross.
—Melissa del Bosque, “’Humanitarians’ with Guns” (United States, The Border Chronicle, March 22, 2022) https://www.theborderchronicle.com/p/humanitarians-with-guns.
Video footage posted to Facebook, cited in a January 6, 2023 letter from three Democratic U.S. Senators to the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, depicts a Border Patrol agent having a friendly, supportive conversation at a Texas checkpoint with members of a militia group, which the letter identifies as “Veterans on Patrol.” (Original link)
The unidentified Border Patrol agent tells the militia members:
You guys are very effective and a lot of fun. You can’t talk to every agent the way you talk to me. Maybe 90% of the people you can. We’ve got some strange f—ing ducks, man. When you talk about confiscating guns, they’re like [mocking voice] “yeah you should do it.”
The agent appears to accept the militia members’ offer of a memory card with drone footage on it. “I’ll pass this along to the right people,” he says.
“Citizens, I don’t mind anything you guys do,” the agent concludes. “Really, I’m telling you, dude. Whatever you do, man. … Hey, I appreciate it.”
(.mp3 file of audio excerpted from the video)
— “Arizona Southern Border Nightmare.” Dsw74News on Facebook, May 24, 2021. <https://www.facebook.com/DSW74/videos/arizona-southern-border-nightmare/142350517880294/.>
— Markey, Sen. Edward J., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Cory A. Booker. “Senators’ Letter to the Biden Administration on Vigilante Groups at the Southern U.S. Border,” January 6, 2023. <https://www.markey.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/senators_letter_to_the_biden_administration_on_vigilante_groups_at_the_southern_us_border_-_january_2023pdf.pdf>.