Published: Tue, April 23, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Government of Mexico: U.S. Vigilantes Are Violating Human Rights of Migrants

Government of Mexico: U.S. Vigilantes Are Violating Human Rights of Migrants

Hopkins, who operates under the alias Johnny Horton Jr, said his group had been working with the U.S. border patrol in rounding up immigrants as they cross the border into New Mexico.

Larry Hopkins, also known as Johnny Horton, was taken into custody in Sunland Park, New Mexico on suspicion of illegally possessing firearms and ammunition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

"This is a risky felon who should not have weapons around children and families", Balderas said in the statement.

Hector Balderas, New Mexico's attorney general, described Hopkins as "a risky felon who should not have weapons around children and families". One video showed the group holding about 200 asylum-seeking migrants at gunpoint until U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived, The New York Times reported. Group spokesman Jim Benvie says members never pointed guns at the migrants and they weren't forced to stay.

Customs and Border Protection said on its Twitter account that it "does not endorse or condone private groups or organizations that take enforcement matters into their own hands".

Earlier this week, videos posted online purported to show migrants being held by a militia known as the United Constitutional Patriots before being turned over to US Border Patrol.

Hopkins' latest arrest came after federal authorities warned private groups to avoid policing the border.

Peter Simonson, executive director for the ACLU of New Mexico, told BuzzFeed that the militia does not have the grounds to make a citizen's arrest as those may only be made when a felony crime is committed.

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In Klamath county, OR in 2006, Hopkins was accused of impersonating a police officer and claimed to be a fugitive bounty hunter, the Santa Few New Mexican reported.

The FBI said that no other information would be released until after Hopkins has his initial court appearance, which is expected Monday at 10:30 U.S. District Court in Las Cruces.

Though the group has claimed that they are working with the permission of U.S. Border Patrol Agents, the agency has denied such claims. "Interference by civilians in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequences for all parties involved".

For Mexico, patrols and security operations not covered by USA federal legislation constitute a risk to the migrants' human security.

The militia and groups like it have previously indicated their intention of apprehending illegal migrants.

"It outrages you. It discourages you to know that Americans would go to these lengths to practice their hate on a group", said ALCU New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simon.

Two US soldiers, patrolling the border with Mexico, were stopped by five or six Mexican military personnel on 13 April 2019, who believed they had ventured into Mexico's territory, while in fact the troop were still on American soil, US Northern Command stated.

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