Saturday
December 16, 2017
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

'Armed patriots' secure US borders in Texas

Members of the "Patriots" Huggie Bear (L, not his real name), Ray (C, no last name given) and Will (R, no last name given) patrol in their UTV near a camp of patriots near the US-Mexico border outside Brownsville, Texas.

With binoculars in hand, an assault rifle slung over his chest and a Glock pistol on his hip, a man named Will scans the banks of the Rio Grande looking for anyone trying to cross from Mexico into Texas.

Will is a member of the Patriots, a group of heavily armed private citizens who use displays of force to intimidate people attempting to cross the border illegally. Since early summer the Patriots have patrolled an area near Brownsville, Texas.

"If you spot them and shine your light on them, that lets them know that you're there," said the 25-year-old construction worker from Indiana who flew to Texas for a stint with the Patriots. “Nine times out of 10, they're not going to come over.

"Even if they are going to try to cross again, we're still making it harder for them, and that's the reason we're here."

The Patriots Information Hotline, a networking call center, estimates that 22 groups of “armed patriots” have sprung up along the border from Texas to California this year.

With names like Patriots and Citizen Defenders, the groups often set up camp on private land along the border at a property owner’s invitation. Expenses are generally paid by members, though some funds come from like-minded donors.

To critics, they are militias - vigilantes spoiling for a fight. For would-be migrants, they are another barrier to entry. For the US Border Patrol, they can be either a nuisance or a help in spotting people trying to enter the country illegally.

The groups insist that their presence is unrelated to the tens of thousands of children from Central America who flooded across the border with Mexico earlier this year. Law enforcement officials say an increase in people taking part in citizen patrols in border states coincided with the attention being paid to the issue of unaccompanied minors this year.

The Patriots opened their Brownsville camp for an exclusive visit, saying their efforts are essential because the US government has failed to secure the border.

Sitting on camp chairs in the center of a cluster of tents, members asked to be identified only by their handles or first names. An American flag flew above a yellow banner depicting a rattlesnake, ready to strike, and the words "DONT (sic) TREAD ON ME."

The men bristled at the terms "militia" and "vigilante."

"Everybody has this bad taste in their mouth about 'militias.' They think we're out here trying to smoke people and kill them as soon as they cross the border. Which obviously, is not the case," said "Huggie Bear," a 25-year-old former US Army infantry team leader.

"Our goal here is to try to deter them from coming. They see us, they don't know who we are, so that kind of scares people away for a while."

  • CommentComment
  • Increase font size Decrease font sizeSize
  • Email article
    email
  • Print
    Print
  • Share
    1. Vote
    2. Not interesting Little interesting Interesting Very interesting Indispensable
Tags:  border  armed  patriots  US  Texas  World  





  • Comment
  • Increase font size Decrease font size
  • mail
  • Print

COMMENTS >

Comment




    ámbito financiero    ambito.com    Docsalud    AlRugby.com    

Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia