Oh, the best-laid plans of mice and men…and men who scurry like mice. The Texas militia’s border patrols have made a lot of headlines lately, and a lot of people are talking about them. Not the least of whom being the people who are actually trained to protect the border.
The incident took place on the night of August 6th, near a small, earthen canal, some six feet deep, that ferries opaque, green water from the Rio Grande to the small border town of Mission. This canal is the epicenter of a major smuggling corridor; it sits in a small pocket of Mexican farmland that protrudes up into South Texas. Here, those crossing the border only need drudge through the canal and across a small field until they reach the nearest American road.
Federal forces are well aware of the situation, and the area is thick with federal agents and national guardsmen. It’s also home to paramilitary “Patriot” border-patrol groups, many dressed in surplus military camo and carrying rifles easily mistaken for M-16s. Visually, many are a few badges short of Fallujah.
On that moonlit night, federal Border Patrol agents were engaged in the task of pulling eight immigrants from the waters of the canal when a small unit of military men emerged from the dark underbrush. Startled, but glad for the assistance from what they assumed to be a tactical unit from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the federal agents accepted their help in rounding up the immigrants. It was only afterward that they learned the group was actually part of the Texas militia.
(Not the U.S. Army)
They advised the militia members to “properly and promptly” identify themselves the next time.
Nothing much came of the incident, but the Federal Agents were shaken by it. The notion of armed, untrained squads of men stalking through a darkness rife with drug smugglers, violent gang members and human traffickers could only stand to complicate an already tense situation. The feds sent out an “issue paper” or memo to its more than 3,000 agents, advising them about the militia presence. It said, in part that the agency
“…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.”
Said J.P. Rodriguez, spokesman for the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s office:
“How do they identify themselves? Do they have badges? How do we know who they are? If they’re all just dressed in camos, it’s kind of hard to distinguish whether they’re law enforcement or not. … There’s a lot of potential for stuff to go wrong.”
This echoes the statement of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who said that there might be
“…chaos if you’re going to have private citizens dressed just like our deputies taking the law into their own hands.” He added that “there could be some dead militia out there.”
For their part, militiamen say they’re only supporting the efforts of the Federal agents, and consider themselves effectively supplementary units. Barbie Rogers of the Patriots Information Hotline said that among the 13 or so similarly sized squads (totaling maybe as few as 100 militiamen), those she knew of regularly kept local law enforcement and border agents apprised of their activities. They say their primary function is to report illegal activity to the proper authorities, and detain illegals until they get there.
Militiamen say that most of those crossing the border are scared, and only too ready to surrender to federal agents. The vast majority simply take a seat and wait for the actual border patrol to arrive, never knowing that they’d actually surrendered to untrained and unauthorized militiamen.
So, maybe that resemblance to real law enforcement isn’t entirely a coincidence.
Of course, America needs secure borders; at this point, we’re not in a position to solve the world’s problems, or feed and house the population of Mexico. The outside world may not be aware of it yet, but the America of 40 years ago has been supplanted with a nation run by un-elected oligarchs, farmed for cash like cows are farmed for milk. We can’t expect the rest of the world to understand that, yet. But here’s one thing we can expect border-crossers from Mexico to understand fairly soon:
Some of the guys who look like cops aren’t.
They’re not authorized to shoot you. You’ve got about a 1-in-30 chance of running into one of these groups, and either escaping them or fighting your way across the border. So, don’t surrender to the guys who look like cops…you’ve got a 1-in-30 chance of making it.
And you beat worse odds than that just getting there.