Far-right militia groups inside the U.S. advertise themselves as the last buffer between the population and a government-turned tyrannical. Now that a president is in office who happens to be a cult figurehead of the far-right, these groups can focus on another cause they hold dear: preventing brown people from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Watchdog groups have been monitoring the rise of militia groups and their anti-immigrant views for decades. “It should be legal to kill illegals,” a 69-year old retired Special Forces veteran told the Southern Poverty Law Center back in 2005. “Just shoot ’em on sight. That’s my immigration policy recommendation. You break into my country, you die.”
Over a decade ago, people like this operated on the fringe and were largely kept underground (until they periodically emerged to kill people). But with Trump as president, they’ve been emboldened — so much so that some now think they can accompany U.S. troops to the border to “offer support” in a potential confrontation with the migrant caravan.
According to a report from The Washington Post this Sunday, an estimated 200 members of Texas militia groups have heeded Trump’s incendiary rhetoric about the Central American men, women, and children currently trekking north.
“We’ll observe and report, and offer aid in any way we can,” Dallas bail bondsman Shannon McGauley told WaPo. “We’ve proved ourselves before, and we’ll prove ourselves again.”
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.
According to the WaPo report, military planners have issued warnings to Army commanders about “unregulated militia members self-deploying to the border in alleged support” of border authorities, but that likely won’t quell the determination of militia groups who are just as easily swayed by Trump’s racist and conspiratorial rhetoric as his most gullible supporters are.
In reality, the caravan doesn’t pose the threat that gun-toting cosplayers would have you believe. These desperate people fleeing violence and extreme poverty in their homelands are simply seeking refuge in a fundamental American principle: that people fleeing oppression have a right to asylum in this country.
“My greatest fear is that US government officials will bring about more violence and suffering on families who have done nothing wrong,” Conchita Cruz, co-founder of Asylum Seekers Advocacy Project, told The Guardian.
In this new age of cruelty substituting for immigration policy, there’s plenty of opportunity for Cruz’s fears to be realized.
Featured image via The Prepper Journal