Mexico warns of 'deep concern' over armed groups on US border

Saul Bowman
April 21, 2019

The ACLU, in a letter to state officials, said the group had targeted almost 300 migrants in Sunland Park, New Mexico, which is along the Mexico border and adjacent to El Paso, Texas.

An armed militia group located near the U.S-Mexico border has detained hundreds of people in the past week, drawing the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union and state officials, CNN reports.

While the group believes their harsh tactics are legal and necessary to stop what President Trump calls an "invasion" over the U.S. southern border, UCP's methods have not been welcomed by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who noted that "regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone".

"My office has been informed that this week, an armed group has detained almost 300 people near Sunland Park, New Mexico", Attorney General Hector Balderas wrote in a statement.

Mr Benvie told the New York Times that the group intends to stay on the border until President Donald Trump's proposed wall is built or Congress introduces tougher laws for asylum seekers. Footage of what they call "citizen's arrests" -and what critics denounce as simple "kidnapping"- showed a big crowd, including women and children kneeling on the ground waiting for government officers to pick them up.

"It should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone", Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said, according to the Times.

"If this demand is not met by the State of New Mexico in one week's time, the County of Otero will take action itself to provide security and safety and well-being for the people in this county", Otero County Commission Chairman Couy Griffin said.

Border patrol said more than 980 were apprehended before 5am on Tuesday after crossing in three large groups.

On Thursday, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said border patrol "welcomes assistance from the community" but "does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands".

A member of an armed rightwing militia group accused of illegally detaining migrants at the US-Mexico border has been arrested, officials said on Saturday.

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