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US Militia Groups Head to Border, Stirred by Trump's Call to Arms
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=49468"><span class="small">Mary Lee Grant and Nick Miroff, The Washington Post</span></a>   
Sunday, 04 November 2018 15:02

Excerpt: "Gun-carrying civilian groups and border vigilantes have heard a call to arms in President Trump’s warnings about threats to American security posed by caravans of Central American migrants moving through Mexico. They’re packing coolers and tents, oiling rifles and tuning up aerial drones, with plans to form caravans of their own and trail American troops to the border."

Michael Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher in Falfurrias, Texas, says he won’t let outside militia onto his property and he doesn’t think such groups will be trusted by most area landowners. (photo: Dominic Bracco II/Prime/FTWP)
Michael Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher in Falfurrias, Texas, says he won’t let outside militia onto his property and he doesn’t think such groups will be trusted by most area landowners. (photo: Dominic Bracco II/Prime/FTWP)


US Militia Groups Head to Border, Stirred by Trump's Call to Arms

By Mary Lee Grant and Nick Miroff, The Washington Post

04 November 18

 

un-carrying civilian groups and border vigilantes have heard a call to arms in President Trump’s warnings about threats to American security posed by caravans of Central American migrants moving through Mexico. They’re packing coolers and tents, oiling rifles and tuning up aerial drones, with plans to form caravans of their own and trail American troops to the border.

“We’ll observe and report, and offer aid in any way we can,” said Shannon McGauley, a bail bondsman in the Dallas suburbs who is president of the Texas Minutemen. McGauley said he was preparing to head for the Rio Grande in coming days.

“We’ve proved ourselves before, and we’ll prove ourselves again,” he said.

McGauley and others have been roused by the president’s call to restore order and defend the country against what Trump has called “an invasion,” as thousands of Central American migrants advance slowly through southern Mexico toward the U.S. border. Trump has insisted that “unknown Middle Easterners,” “very tough fighters,” and large numbers of violent criminals are traveling among the women, children and families heading north on foot.

The Texas Minutemen, according to McGauley, have 100 volunteers en route to the Rio Grande who want to help stop the migrants, with more likely on the way.

“I can’t put a number on it,” McGauley said. “My phone’s been ringing nonstop for the last seven days. You got other militias, and husbands and wives, people coming from Oregon, Indiana. We’ve even got two from Canada.”

Asked whether his group planned to deploy with weapons, McGauley laughed. “This is Texas, man,” he said.

And yet, the prospect of armed vigilantes showing up beside thousands of U.S. troops — along with Border Patrol agents, police officers and migrants — is considered serious enough that military planners have issued warnings to Army commanders.

According to military planning documents obtained by Newsweek, the military is concerned about the arrival of “unregulated militia members self-deploying to the border in alleged support” of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The assessment estimates that 200 militia members could show up. “They operate under the guise of citizen patrols,” the report said, while warning of “incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments.”

The military report provided no further details about the alleged thefts.

Manuel Padilla Jr., the top Border Patrol official in the agency’s Rio Grande Valley sector, the nation’s busiest for illegal crossings, said he has not issued any instructions to agents in the field or to landowners whose properties are adjacent to the river. But he plans to meet with community members in the coming week, he said, to address their concerns.

“We don’t have any specific information about the militias,” said Padilla, reached by phone along the border. “We have seen them in the past, and when things start getting really busy, we have to make sure to let the community know they’re out there.”

“But they’re doing that on their own,” Padilla said.

McGauley said that in addition to weapons and camping gear, his group will have night-vision goggles and aerial drones with thermal sensing equipment, capable of operating in darkness. He emphasized that the group would report any suspicious activity to authorities and would heed any instructions from Border Patrol agents or military personnel.

Several landowners in the area said they do not want the militias around.

Michael Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher who lives an hour north of the border in Falfurrias, said that he will not let militia members from outside the area onto his property and that he doubts most area landowners would trust outsiders.

“They are a bunch of guys with a big mouth and no substance to them,” said Vickers, a Republican who heads the 300-strong Texas Border Volunteers. The group doesn’t call itself a militia, although it patrols ranchland to intercept migrants who hike through the brush to attempt to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints. The group uses ATVs, night-vision goggles, spotlights and trained dogs.

“People on the [Rio Grande] have been calling us,” Vickers said. His group is in a “holding pattern,” he said, adding, “We can have 100 volunteers in a hot area in four to eight hours.

“We’ve already talked to a bunch of landowners who wanted to know if we’ll be operating if the Border Patrol can’t be there to keep their property from being vandalized and their crops from being messed up.”

“We’re ready to move,” he said.

Others in South Texas are less enthusiastic.

Lucy Kruse, 96, said immigrants often stop on her property as they walk through the bush country, sometimes breaking into a small cabin to sleep. Her family’s ranch lies amid the thorny mesquite brush, cactus and tawny dry grass 80 miles north of the border.

As the migrant caravans head north, she and other landowners in the area worry that the number of trespassers walking through their ranches will increase dramatically. But many say the militias coming to the area also pose a threat.

“I will not let militia on my land,” Kruse said. “They’re civilians stepping into a situation where the Border Patrol is supposed to be in control and make decisions. They could damage property or harm workers. I would guess they would be trigger-happy. If they shot someone, they might just say the person they shot was reaching for a gun.”

Joe Metz, 80, lives in what looks like a pastoral tropical paradise near Mission, a town of 84,000 in the Rio Grande Valley. Tall, green sugar cane grows beside the wide river, and citrus trees dot the sandy small hillocks away from the banks.

The Rio Grande is less than a mile from Metz’s living room window, and a section of border wall crosses his property. He has watched for years as border-crossers ford the river and walk onto his land, their first step on American soil. The wall has slowed the flow significantly, he said, but between 50 and 100 people a day still cross through the farm next door.

He worries that the caravan, which includes many women and children, will surge through the area, but he doesn’t want armed vigilantes on his farm.

“The militia just needs to stay where they are,” said Metz, a Republican. “We don’t need fanatical people. We don’t need anybody here with guns. Why do they have guns? I have dealt with illegals for 30 years, and all of them have been scared, asking for help. The militias need to stay up north where they belong. We have no use for them here. They might shoot someone or hurt someone.”

But the heir to the state’s largest and most influential ranch disagrees. Stephen J. “Tio” Kleberg, who has lived most of his life on the 825,000-acre King Ranch outside of Kingsville, said that he will allow militia groups on his ranch, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island.

“I think if the [caravan members] get across the river, they need to be caught and sent back,” said Kleberg, who wears a bushy handlebar mustache and chews an unlit cigar.

“Once they get on U.S. soil, they need to be stopped and detained. We don’t have enough Border Patrol, ICE and Highway Patrol to handle them. If we get 2,000 or 3,000 people, we will need the militia,” Kleberg said.

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+16 # indian weaving 2018-11-04 15:25
Talk about out of control crazy and cruel, encouraged and created by our "president" and "military". Disgusting, at best, what our government says and does anymore (a horrendous - but politically correct - understatement for me). This is America? Where am I?
 
 
0 # MainStreetMentor 2018-11-06 08:42
This is how an armed rebellion can start: A propagandist lie with endless repetitions of that lie by multiple mass-media outlets, acted upon by thoughtless, easily persuaded firearm-radical Fascist, survivalists and White Supremists. USA is NOT being invaded by arms-carrying, tank-driving, artillery-towin g masses. Instead the USA is being politically undermined, internally poisoned with fabricated lies, and vicious legislative attacks on its’ own citizens by the Republican Controlled Congress of the USA. The only positive way to stop this is to legally remove all individuals involved with the Trump Administration through the ballot box.
 
 
+12 # librarian1984 2018-11-04 16:01
When they get there, let's move the border north by a mile and lock them out.
 
 
+3 # LionMousePudding 2018-11-05 06:47
Yessssss!
 
 
+3 # BetaTheta 2018-11-04 17:18
A Children's Crusade.
 
 
+5 # wilhelmscream 2018-11-04 17:31
Trump wants Iron Curtain 2.0; Jim Crow 2.0; repeal all Civil Rights laws enacted 1964-present. Trump: modern day Hitler; his Cabinet: his Reich. Republican Party= Nazi Party. This ad is part of the proof needed!
 
 
+5 # Citizen Mike 2018-11-04 22:53
I hope they shoot at each other or get involved in a firefight with the army. Seems to me I have never heard tell of a single illegal immigrant who was armed. We are not talking about drug smugglers here, that is different from these refugees, they are running from violence, not bringing it.
 
 
0 # indian weaving 2018-11-05 10:45
This is a refugee situation nearly identical in impact as the USA's invasion of the NE countries such as Libya / Syria / Yemen / Iraq has also created such massive refugee influxes into Europe. The USA has de-stabilized and destroyed several Central American countries the same way, creating unbelievable hardship and cruelty to the people who are fleeing this mess created by the USA. And, like Syrians in Europe, the USA accepts absolutely no responsibility for its actions. It hides from its impact by denying refugee status / protection within its own borders.
 
 
+2 # HenryS1 2018-11-04 23:49
I wonder what they will tell themselves at the end of all this. Will they feel heroic? What will they need to do to make their experience fit in line with their expectations?

I can't imagine my way to answering this. I really don't now. But I am somewhat afraid of the answer.

Best case, they have a good time, nothing violent happens, they congratulate themselves, and then go home.

Fingers crossed.
 
 
+4 # zepp 2018-11-05 08:44
Mexican kids could toss firecrackers over the border and then duck behind a rock and giggle as panicked "militia" types frantically shoot at anything that moves, mostly one another.
 
 
+3 # Dale 2018-11-05 08:56
And where are the thousands of decent Americans that should be marching with the wretched of the earth to demand justice at the border.
 
 
+4 # Kootenay Coyote 2018-11-05 09:30
Just what the Trump border needs: crazed racist amateur mercenary goons. America the Beautiful, eh?
 
 
0 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-11-05 15:13
These people are fleeing the violence that Reagan/Bush created (and lasts today) with the Contra War.