DEL RIO, Texas — The militia leader came before Val Verde County commissioners at their regular meeting in this border town 200 miles west of San Antonio wearing a straw cowboy hat, boots and a T-shirt emblazoned with the American flag.
He introduced himself as Samuel Hall, north Texas-based founder of Patriots for America. For the last two months, volunteers from his militia — which doesn’t disclose the size of its membership — had coordinated with the sheriff of neighboring Kinney County to stop illegal immigrants. The militia patrolled in shifts, funded by donations. They approached ranchers in Val Verde about running operations on their land too. Hall hoped to win commissioners’ blessing at Tuesday’s meeting.
“We are expanding our operations,” said Hall, 40. “The militia has been demonized pretty well by the left. My goal and my objective before you today commissioners is to let you know that our message is pure. We’re not a bunch of guys that have a hate rhetoric. We’re not a bunch of guys that beat our chest or have the wrong intentions or wrong message. We are a Christ-centered, faith-based organization. We’re a bunch of believers.”
Militias have staked out the border for decades, but Patriots for America has managed to do what many others have not: Patrol armed, with landowners’ permission, in concert with local law enforcement.
The militia arrived here after Gov. Greg Abbott declared the Texas border a disaster and launched Operation Lone Star last spring, allowing state troopers to arrest and jail migrants on misdemeanor trespassing charges. Since then, thousands of migrants have arrived, including a caravan of Haitians that overwhelmed U.S. Customs and Border Protection last fall, prompting criticism of some agents who were photographed on horseback chasing migrants.
Migrant deaths have increased in both counties this year. Sheriffs said there have been drownings in the Rio Grande and bodies recovered on ranches further north. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union and nine other groups filed a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice, requesting that it investigate Texas agencies and local governments involved in the operation. Among their concerns: County support for militias.
See the pics and read the rest here: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-12-21/government-sanctioned-militias-stop-migrants-on-the-texas-border