A group of right-wing military force which is operating in southern New Mexico, have started to detain migrants and families at gunpoint, New York Times on Friday reported.
The members of United Constitutional Patriots recently uploaded videos on social media which clearly showed that the militia group was detaining around 200 migrants, who have fled the southern border alongside Sunland Park. They were later, reportedly, transferred to border patrol agents, according to ANI news reports.
The government of New Mexico has criticized such action against migrants and termed the act as “unlawful”. In an official statement, New Mexican attorney-general Hector Balderas stated: “These individuals should not attempt to exercise authority reserved for law enforcement.”
However, the United Constitutional Patriots claimed they were doing nothing “unconstitutional”, with the group’s spokesperson Kim Benvie saying, “We are just here to support the border patrol and show the public the reality of the border.”
Custom and border protection spokesperson Carlos A. Diaz, however, declined to offer comment over United Constitutional Patriots and actions taken at the border, but stated the agency “does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands.”
This recent activity has largely drawn strong criticism from the human rights groups across the world.
In a letter, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has on Friday denounced the border militia’s actions, asking New Mexico attorney-general and governor to investigate the issue. The ACLU alleged the militia hold no legal authority to detain migrants under federal or New Mexico law or arrest any migrants in the United States.
ACLU’s two lawyers, Kerstein Greer Love and Maria Martinez Sanchez, in a letter, stated: “We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum.”