Armed anti-immigration groups of civilian volunteers have been reactivated at the call of President Donald Trump to protect the U.S. from the “invasion” of Central American asylum-seekers, and are preparing to install themselves at the border with their rifles.
After years of relative inactivity, the Texas Minutemen militia summoned volunteers for a watchout operation at the border with Mexico in order to aid the border patrol and the 15,000 troops that Trump is allegedly dispatching to the border to stop the migrant caravan.
The organization, similar to a paramilitary group, is headed by the private investigator Shannon McGauley, who said they’re preparing scores of armed volunteers to guard three points at the Texas border.
“We have agreements with ranchers to go and operate in their property,” McGauley told Notimex, the Mexican state news agency, adding that his group won’t shoot or arrest any immigrant, but that they will aid and monitor the border patrol in their duties.
When asked by the Washington Post if the group would deploy its weapons, McGauley answered, “this is Texas, man,” suggesting they will.
Trump has assured that, among the thousands of children and women escaping from violence and hunger in their home countries, there are “unknown Middle Easterners” and violent criminals that will threaten the national security.
Inspired by the president, McGauley has made similar comments, while, at the same time he denies his group is racist.
“We want to protect our families… we don’t want someone to cross the border and hurt them,” he said.
McGauley assured the Washington Post he’s not sure about the number of volunteers that will show up with them, as his phone has been “ringing nonstop for the last seven days.”
The Border Patrol has warned locals that about 200 militia volunteers could show up in the next days “under the guise of citizen patrols.”
Some of them have expressed their concerns saying they won’t let them into their property, while others are supportive.
Michael Vickers, a Republican who leads the 300-member Texas Border Volunteers, says he won’t let outsider militias get into his property and doubts that others would also trust them.
“They are a bunch of guys with a big mouth and no substance to them,” said Vickers.
The U.S. has already deployed about 2,100 National Guard forces at the border and Trump promised that 15,000 would also come to aid the Border Patrol.
Trump suggested on Thursday that the forces at the border could use lethal force against the migrants if confronted by rocks, which they should consider as firearms, but later retracted and said they would only arrest them.