Hundreds of asylum seekers surrendered to an armed militia of New Mexico citizens last night, after trying to cross the U.S. border.
A group of 300 men, women and children gave themselves up to the ‘United Constitutional Patriots’, a gang of vigilantes who claim to be made up of veterans and former police officers, who then handed them over to border officials.
Video recorded by one of the militia, Jim Benvie, who has been camping out on the New Mexico-Chihuahua border for two months, shows the asylum seekers walking on a dirt road having crossed through a fence gap in Sundland Park, New Mexico.
The emergence of the vigilante group comes amid a boom in asylum seekers aiming to make their way into the U.S. through New Mexico, and the El Paso sector.
In 2018, Border Patrol stopped 162,000 people in the Rio Grande Valley.
None of the eight other Border Patrol sectors on the Southern border have experienced anywhere near those figures, as the graphic above indicates.
However, El Paso, where the 300 asylum seekers were filmed, has seen a significant spike in the past year, as other corridors in the U.S. are explored.
In October and November of 2018,as the average number of apprehensions grew, El Paso’s share doubled.
The video, which was streamed live on Facebook, shows the asylum seekers giving themselves up to the militia, intending to turn themselves over to Border Patrol.
‘I literally walked out and I looked, and all I saw was hundreds of people coming at us,’ said Benvie.
Benvie and three other men had been scouting the area Monday night before coming across what the U.S. Border Patrol estimated was 300 migrants.
‘We held them there until Border Patrol came,’ said Benvie.
‘And once they came then we did what we do, and that’s to help Border Patrol get them to the processing van. So, everybody is safe.’
Benvie has documented the armed militia’s encounters with asylum seekers for the past two months.
‘We’re just Americans. We’re veterans, we’re ex-law enforcement, we’re people that care about our national security,’ he said.
‘We’re people that care about our strained Border Patrol.’
Border Patrol said it does not condone the group’s actions.