Militia group expresses desire to put boots on the ground along border
POSTED: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 5:14pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 9:44am
MCALLEN, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — A militia alliance that calls itself the "Patriots" is trying to make its way to South Texas to assist Border Patrol and local law enforcement with the influx of immigrants.
"We're not in this to break the law, we're in this to help enforce the law," said Commander Rick Light, spokesperson for "Operation Secure Our Border - Laredo Sector."
They're putting out a call for people to go to the Texas-Mexico border to work with both local law enforcement as well as Border Patrol following the recent surge of immigrant crossings.
"Number one, we feel like they're being overwhelmed," Light explained. "Number two, we feel like we can provide ears and eyes on areas that can be weak. We intend to keep everything legal and coordinate it with law enforcement."
The Patriots website says they have four active operations on the ground in Texas.
But the patriots won't be coming to Hidalgo County--Light confirmed that sheriff Eddie Guerra declined their proposition to send civilian militia members to the area.
"We're gonna honor what a sheriff says. If the sheriff tells us that there's no need for us in that county, well then there's probably no need."
Light says the group is still working on operation plans to present to the sheriffs of Starr, Willacy, and Cameron County.
He did not disclose the exact number of members that the group has, but did say that the support for the militia movement is growing.
"Look, we don't wanna be the ones that make the arrests on the illegals, we don't wanna hold them at gunpoint, we don't wanna threaten them, we just wanna help Border Patrol or the sheriff with whatever needs they have. They tell us what they need, we try to fill in the hollow spots, it's that easy."
But it may not be that easy--according to a local Border Patrol spokesperson, the high amount of private and protected land along the border makes it unlikely that these Patriots will be invited to the Valley.
CBP released an official statement to News Center regarding this militia group expressing interest in coming to the border:
"CBP does not endorse or support any private group or organization from taking matters into their own hands as it could have disastrous personal and public safety consequences.
CBP appreciates the efforts of concerned citizens as they act as our eyes and ears.
CBP strongly encourages concerned citizens to call the U.S. Border Patrol and/or local law enforcement authorities if they witness or suspect illegal activity.
Securing our nation’s borders can be dangerous. Interdicting narcotics and deterring and apprehending individuals illegally entering the United States requires highly-trained, law enforcement personnel. Border Patrol agents undergo months of specialized training and are uniquely qualified to do this type of work.
In all cases, individuals should refrain from providing transportation or other assistance to migrants that may be viewed as furtherance of illegal entry. This type of assistance to an undocumented migrant could result in prosecution."