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Where The Government Won't, The People Will

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

Last week it was reported that an “armed militia group” had detained a group of illegal migrants crossing the United States southern border. The story said the militia group held the illegal migrants and turned them over to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents. Many supporters of illegal migration screamed foul that this group engaged in this behavior.

First of all, no one should be surprised that this occurred. I do not necessarily support this type of citizen involvement in detaining bands of migrants illegally crossing into the sovereign territory of the United States—not yet anyway. However, I am getting to that point.

I was recently at the border in the Rio Grande Valley and Big Bend Sector at the Texas border. What I saw with my own eyes shocked me. I watched as groups of 30 to 40 people casually crossed the unsecured border into the U.S. They had no fear that they would be apprehended, rather, they sought out border patrol agents to turn themselves in and claim asylum. All were well-dressed and appeared well-fed. No one was famished or thirsty. This was obviously an organized effort. Some had temporary Mexican visas. It is nearly 2,000 miles from their home country of Guatemala and Honduras to the U.S. border. They indicated to me that their journey had taken about two weeks to get to the U.S. border. That long trek on foot to arrive in clean clothes, not hungry or thirsty doesn’t pass the eye test.

As a former law enforcement officer, it was a helpless feeling not being able to do something about blatant law violations occurring right before my eyes. I lacked the authority to act. While at the border I talked to ranchers and landowners who told me about the constant flow of illegal migrants across their property. Their homes and sheds have been broken into, their property has been stolen, and sometimes they were confronted menacingly. Border Patrol agents were too far away to respond in a timely fashion, as was the local sheriff. In the Big Bend sector in Sanderson County, they had about ten deputies to cover 2,400 square miles. The Border Patrol had about 19 agents to cover that area. At the height of their staffing, the Border Patrol had 92 agents covering that sector. Law enforcement is devastatingly overwhelmed at the border. 

In Sanderson County, I spent several days with the Texas Minutemen—a group of volunteers who were serving as eyes and ears passing on information to the Border Patrol when they observed illegal border crossings, and yes, they were armed, which was their right. They never detained anybody. What this group was doing in Texas was entirely lawful. The ACLU aided by their accomplices in the liberal media slanders these groups with inflammatory labels calling them armed militia vigilantes.

That gets me back to what occurred in New Mexico. The ACLU demanded the governor investigate this group, in part, because they were armed. So what? As long as they are lawfully armed, who cares? I don’t. I think they would be stupid to be out in the middle of nowhere and unarmed. In a letter to the governor and the New Mexico attorney general, the ACLU, of course, not wanting to waste the opportunity to politicize this, blamed President Trump for encouraging this citizen group. The ACLU, not surprisingly, labeled them as racists and referred to them as white nationalists and fascists with no credible connection. This is straight off of the pro-illegal immigration talking points memo. The ACLU described these illegal aliens as having been kidnapped. They cited the citizen group as breaking the law but said nothing of the law violation of the illegal aliens. My response to this inflammatory rhetoric is… shut up.

New Mexico Governor Grisham issued a statement saying, "It should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone." Grisham went on to claim, "My office and our state police are coordinating with the Attorney General's Office and local police to determine what has gone on and what can be done." 

Grisham said nothing about investigating illegal border crossers or demanding that the Federal government step up their game to seal and protect the New Mexico border. Yeah, that’s right. Let’s make the U.S. citizens the bad guys. That is tacit approval for support of illegal migration.

People along the southern border, dealing with this crisis, have had enough of their government not protecting them. When the government refuses to protect, it has an obligation to allow individuals to protect themselves. I know this is a slippery slope but it is caused by the left’s systematic destruction of the rule of law. When states set up sanctuary status and provide a safe harbor for illegal aliens, it has a cascading effect. Citizens will do the same by taking the law into their own hands, and the result won’t be pretty. Support for the rule of law and the federal government enforcing our immigration laws would lessen the need for citizen groups to feel they have to do it themselves. Groups like the United Constitutional Patriots are no longer going to outsource to the federal government their right to be protected from illegal immigration.

Too many people forget that the government derives its authority from the consent of the governed. That is us. We the people gave them that authority and we the people can take it away. We are approaching that point. When the government doesn’t act on our behalf, the people will. The Founding Fathers taught us this.

Sheriff David Clarke Jr. is former Sheriff of Milwaukee Co, Wisconsin, President of AmericasSheriff LLC, Senior Advisor for America First, author of the book Cop Under Fire: Beyond Hashtags of Race Crime and Politics for a Better America. To learn more visit

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