Immigration

Are Gun-Toting Border Vigilantes So Different from the Border Patrol?

Outraged by that video of freelance border guards detaining migrant families? Wait til you find out what the official border cops have been up to...

|

It's rare that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are on the same side. Yet this week, both outfits have criticized a right-wing paramilitary group for detaining immigrants at the southern border.

Over the weekend, video surfaced of the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), a vigilante group, detaining some 200 migrants, including many women and children, at the border near Sunland Park, New Mexico.

The video sparked criticism from the ACLU and from New Mexico state officials, with both agreeing that private citizens shouldn't be enforcing the country's immigration laws.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tells The New York Times that it "was unacceptable" that migrant families "might be menaced or threatened in any way, shape or form when they arrive at our border," adding that "it should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone."

"The vigilante members of [United Constitutional Patriots]…are not police or law enforcement and they have no authority under New Mexico or federal law to detain or arrest migrants in the United States," says the New Mexico ACLU in a letter to state officials. "We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum."

CBP was more muted, but also distanced itself from UCP, with an agency spokesperson telling the Times it "does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands."

After alleged UCP leader Larry Hopkins was arrested on federal weapons charges Saturday, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a statement saying "today's arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes."

Given the unsavory history of Hopkins and the UCP, not to mention the shocking video of the group detaining migrant families, it's understandable why the ACLU, state officials, and even federal immigration authorities are not happy to have the group around. What's less clear is what exactly makes Border Patrol agents any better.

If we are to judge government officials and private citizens by the same standards, there's not a huge difference between immigration officials detaining peaceful immigrants and private paramilitaries doing the same thing.

And indeed, there's a very good case for not making a distinction between the actions of private citizens and government agents, according to Jason Brennan, Georgetown University philosophy professor.

As Brennan wrote for Reason in January: "Imagine thugs beat up a drunken trucker, the mafia hacks into people's computers and phones, or your neighbor throws people in his basement to punish them for smoking pot. Now imagine the same situation, except the perpetrators are government agents acting in their capacity as such: The police beat Rodney King, the National Security Administration hacks your phone and email without a warrant, or the sheriff arrests you for pot possession. Does that change things?"

Brennan's answer was no, it doesn't change things at all. He argued that the morality of an action isn't affected by the person committing it. If it's wrong for a private citizen to steal, kidnap, or murder, it is just as wrong for a government agent to do those things too, even if that agent is abiding by the letter of the law.

With that principle in mind, it's hard to see much daylight between the actions of UCP members and those of Border Patrol agents on the southern border.

Surely these agents have "menaced or threatened" migrants in the process of arresting them as they cross into the U.S., the very same thing that Grisham slammed the UCP for doing.

Absent the reference to "vigilantes," the ACLU's criticism that armed persons are being allowed to "kidnap and detain people seeking asylum" could just as easily be applied to the Border Patrol agents.

Indeed, the video of UCP members detaining migrants is an excellent example of just how shallow any distinction between the actions of government agents and these vigilantes really is. At the beginning, one armed group (the UCP) is holding huddled migrants against their will. Later, a different armed group (Border Patrol agents) shows up to take the migrants away. If you were one of those migrants, how much of a distinction would you draw between the two groups?

To be sure, Border Patrol agents are supposed to go through an extensive vetting process and months of training before being put into the field, making them far less likely than untrained vigilantes to cause harm to the immigrants they're detaining.

Yet it is also the case that, despite their ostensible training, a number of Border Patrol agents have engaged in some pretty loathsome behavior, including fatally shooting an unarmed Mexican teenager through a border fence and allegedly going on a sex worker murdering spree. Not to mention the numerous reports of neglect and abuse reported by detained migrants at CPB facilities.

If detaining nonviolent people at gunpoint is wrong, then the ACLU and New Mexico state officials are dead on in their criticism of the UCP. But the idea that this same behavior is fine when done by government agents is far less convincing.

NEXT: Will Connecticut—Home of the Kelo Supreme Court Case—Finally End Eminent Domain Abuse?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. LOL

    Something, something monopoly of force.

    So, no, it’s not the same thing.

    1. They lack the immunity that goes with that monopoly.

      1. ^ This.

        1. Otherwise, they should NOT be detaining them.
          They should be shooting them.

  2. “it should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone.”

    I don’t think that’s true from a purely legal standpoint.

    1. I came here to say exactly this. IANAL, but I believe that if you witness someone committing a felony, detaining them until police arrive is perfectly within your rights as a citizen. “Citizen’s Arrest” it’s known as.

      1. Yes, did a little reading on this after posting that– essentially there are some expectations around a “citizen’s arrest” and of course, if you exceed any of those expectations and limitations, you open yourself up to personal liability and possible criminal prosecution, depending on the severity of the lapse. But her statement is demonstrably false.

    2. It’s a basic principle of policing, or was originally, that the police are just doing for pay what everybody was entitled to do for free.

      At least, that was the original concept, before they got perverted into an army of occupation…

      1. Bull shit

  3. As the greatest living libertarian writer Shikha Dalmia has explained, border enforcement is inherently fascist. Fortunately American voters are increasingly realizing this — polls show record numbers agree with the statement “immigration is a good thing” — and in 2020 we will elect a Democratic President who will embrace the Koch / Reason open borders agenda.

    1. That was a little over the top. You catch more flies with subtlety than you do with big explosions.

      Perhaps I could use a better metaphor, but you get the idea.

      1. I’m the second greatest libertarian writer, shitweasels.

    2. “polls show record numbers agree with the statement “immigration is a good thing” — and in 2020 we will elect a Democratic President who will embrace the Koch / Reason open borders agenda.”

      Doubtful on both points.

  4. “Outraged by that video of freelance border guards detaining migrant families?”

    Isn’t there a rule about questions asked in a headline?

  5. If it’s wrong for a private citizen to steal, kidnap, or murder, it is just as wrong for a government agent to do those things too, even if that agent is abiding by the letter of the law.

    *facepalm*

    This from a Philosophy professor.

    Your neighbor locking you in his basement because you smoke pot is not actually the same thing as an agent of the state detaining you while you await trial by a jury of your peers to ascertain whether you broke the written and democratically-crafted law of the land.

    True, something is not moral-by-definition just because it’s being done by an agent of the state, but to say that there is no moral distinction at all between a police officer arresting and detaining you per legal procedures and your neighbor doing it on a whim is just silly.

    And PS – to declare that the same action performed in different contexts by different actors is nevertheless morally the same shows a pretty deep ignorance of moral philosophy. Especially for a philosophy professor.

    1. Yep. Some libertarians just can’t figure out why anarchy is the nullification of objectively defined, just law.

      1. Not socialist “Anarchy”, Anarcho-Capitalism. Private law is MUCH more likely to get you justice than the State’s attempt.

        Initiating force is wrong, regardless of what a piece of paper or badge says.

    2. Your neighbor locking you in his basement because you smoke pot is not actually the same thing as an agent of the state detaining you while you await trial by a jury of your peers to ascertain whether you broke the written and democratically-crafted law of the land.

      It’s really not all that different. One has more steps, but it’s still just taking someone who harmed no one else and depriving him of his freedom.

      1. One has more steps, but it’s still just taking someone who harmed no one else and depriving him of his freedom.

        Except that the “more steps” involve written laws, due process, and a jury of your peers vs. me just deciding to lock you in my basement.

        I am by no means saying that punishing people for victimless crimes is in any way just. I’m saying that the police officer who enforces the law according to due process is not on the same moral plane as the self-appointed cop-judge-jury-executioner who unilaterally locks you in his basement with no due process in the name of enforcing the same (admittedly unjust) law.

        It’s the exact same reason why the executioner who carries out a jury’s verdict is not the same as a murderer, even if you think the death penalty is wrong (which I do).

        1. Daniel Chong may disagree. Bureaucracy normalizes things however it doesn’t make it more moral. People usually don’t do these things on their own because they can join law enforcement and do so with Impunity.

          1. Bureaucracy normalizes things however it doesn’t make it more moral.

            I’m not arguing that bureaucracy makes a thing moral. The significant elements I pointed to were due process and jury of your peers.

            Do those things lead to Perfect Justice? No. But historically they’ve been found to mitigate a lot of the problems with “Justice.”

            Daniel Chong may disagree.

            What part of “police officer who enforces the law according to due process” has anything to do with Daniel Chong? As I said at the outset, “something is not moral-by-definition just because it’s being done by an agent of the state.”

            People usually don’t do these things on their own because they can join law enforcement and do so with Impunity.

            That’s a pretty broad brush you’ve got there. Also doesn’t make any difference to the argument that I’m making about law-enforcement-via-due-process being actually morally different from unilateral vigilantism.

            1. “Also doesn’t make any difference to the argument that I’m making about law-enforcement-via-due-process being actually morally different from unilateral vigilantism.”

              Due process means nothing if it never reaches the judicial system, if the laws are unjust, or if the people are bias. Your peers agreeing that you are a witch and burning you at the stake or one person doing so is just a matter of scale, the outcome and morals are the same. The morality is independent of the system that is used to enforce it. Going though extra steps to do something immoral is still immoral. It’s diluting the blame across many people so they don’t feel so bad about themselves making them morality complacent while atrocities happen.

              1. Due process means nothing if it never reaches the judicial system

                Aye – there’s the rub. You acknowledge the distinction I am making in the course of trying to refute it.

                What happened to Daniel Chong was essentially vigilantism. He was punished by individuals without due process. The fact that those individuals coincidentally had badges does not make what they did moral.

                Due process does not necessarily make it moral, but a police officer detaining a criminal suspect is not morally the same as “kidnapping” such that the statement

                “If it’s wrong for a private citizen to steal, kidnap, or murder, it is just as wrong for a government agent to do those things too, even if that agent is abiding by the letter of the law.”

                is false. If the agent abiding by the letter of the law is no different than a vigilante doling out his own personal sense of justice, then the very concepts of “law” and “morality” simply have no meaning.

                Likewise, a literal witch hunt is the archetypal example of the collapse of due process on a community level. Again – I didn’t say “if more than one person does it, it’s okay” any more than I said that “if the guy has a badge, it’s okay.”

                What I said was that historically restraining the use of force in enforcing laws via due process requirements and a trial by a jury of your peers has significantly restrained the injustices involved with things like witch hunts and unilaterally empowering individuals to enforce justice according to their own interpretations by their own means.

                I wouldn’t have thought that to be such a controversial statement. I thought it was a rather banal miss by this “professor,” actually.

                1. “What I said was that historically restraining the use of force in enforcing laws via due process requirements and a trial by a jury of your peers has significantly restrained the injustices…”

                  You were starting to sway me… but this line is what I can’t get past. Due process may LIMIT the number of injustices carried out. But it does not make something “just”. A kidnapping of someone who has created no victims is immoral. The due process we go through may help ensure that only those who deserve it are imprisoned HOWEVER, that is simply a filtration process, not a justification process. The action is either moral or immoral universally (else the concept of moral means nothing). Because there is risk of doing something immorally, due process is nice because it, again, helps filter out those bad cases. But still, due process itself does not create the characteristic of “just” within the acts being discussed. The just/unjust nature of a particular act is a characteristic of that act itself, not of how we decide if it we got it right or not.

            2. The significant elements I pointed to were due process and jury of your peers.

              Just because you wrote down what you would do in advance and lots of other people agree with you, doesn’t change what you’re ultimately doing.

              1. Let’s set aside the complicating factor of morally ambiguous laws. Let’s say we’re talking about enforcing the law against sex-trafficking pre-pubescent children. I think we can all agree that enforcing that law would be morally acceptable.

                Scenario 1: your neighbor decides he’s pretty sure you’re sex-trafficking pre-pubescent children, so he clubs you over the head in the middle of the night and chains you to the wall in his basement.

                Scenario 2: your neighbor decides he’s pretty sure you’re sex-trafficking pre-pubescent children, so he calls the police who come and arrest you, they gather evidence that you were in fact sex-trafficking pre-pubescent children, they present that evidence to a jury of your peers who all agree that you definitely did do that beyond any doubt and then they put you in prison in a manner and for a term that the community has decided is commensurate with the crime that you committed.

                Are you saying there is no moral distinction to be made between these two situations?

                1. That is correct. You’ve added additional elements that may help limit the chances of the kidnapping being done unjustly… but the kidnapping in both cases would be just as it is an application of force in the service of protecting a right. Now… I’m not saying the kidnapping should be indefinite (I’m leaving aside the hole commensurate force issue and simply assuming it was necessary force to stop a harm as that issue only arises AFTER the just/unjust nature of the kidnapping becomes manifest through it’s doing… if that makes any sense).

            3. Yeah, but if you really take the non-aggression principle seriously, you’re an anarchist. Minarchist libertarians aren’t really being philosophically consistent.

        2. Fuck that. You thinking that a badge makes someone morally superior is what is wrong with the world.

          1. You thinking that a badge makes someone morally superior is what is wrong with the world.

            Not what I said. Read more carefully before you whip out your dick and piss all over me.

            1. You said that writing things down and getting a bunch of other people to agree with it and procedurally sticking pretty much to what was written down is what makes it morally superior.

              1. You said that writing things down and getting a bunch of other people to agree with it and procedurally sticking pretty much to what was written down is what makes it morally superior.

                No, I didn’t. In this formulation there is no difference between Stalinism and the system we have here and now in this country. But there are differences. What are those differences and why do we have them?

                See my response to you, above.

    3. Your neighbor locking you in his basement because you smoke pot is not actually the same thing as an agent of the state detaining you while you await trial by a jury of your peers to ascertain whether you broke the written and democratically-crafted law of the land.

      I most emphatically disagree.

      1. You’re neighbors basement torture dungeon is probably safer than the county lockup.

      2. Being held for trial for breaking immoral laws is immoral. Period.

      1. 2. Being held for trial for breaking immoral laws is immoral. Period.

        That’s not the argument I’m making.

        The argument I’m making is countering the notion that there is no moral difference between a law enforcement officer enforcing existing laws in a manner consistent with the due process rules laid out in the Constitution and a lone vigilante doling out his own punishments to his own selected “criminals” with no oversight by anyone else from the community on whose behalf he is enforcing those laws.

        If nothing else, one is stripping you of your rights without a trial and the other is not. There is a moral distinction there that is quite separate from the moral value of the particular law in question.

        By the same token, if UCP is peacefully handing these people over to immigration authorities to be duly tried, what they are doing is arguably not wrong. If they were just lining them up and shooting them, what they are doing is unquestionably wrong.

        1. To make it moral:

          1. Write it down.
          2. Have politicians vote for what you wrote down.

          1. So. . . are you saying there is no difference between law enforcement acting within the bounds of the Constitution and not? After all, isn’t that just “writing down a bunch of steps and having politicians agree to them” with no greater moral authority than that?

            In your formulation, is there any way to enforce laws that isn’t fundamentally immoral?

            Or is it that anybody can act violently upon any moral impulse they have and it’s all equally moral/immoral?

            1. If you murder someone because you hate them personally, you get put in jail or killed, by Government Almighty.

              If you murder someone because you hate their nation and their politics, and your hatred has been blessed by Government Almighty, you get ribbons put on your chest, and you are called a hero.

              That’s all I know…

    4. Why do you trust the State to be competent and moral in the case of “justice” (a word they cannot define)? Do you have any evidence whatsoever that this is logically sound or historically accurate?

      Why would the State do better than the free market at providing this service? Do you think this simply because you haven’t seen the private sector try? There’s a reason the State enforces their monopoly on force, they know that if people see others doing it better they’d lose their only excuse for existing!

      1. Why do you trust the State to be competent and moral in the case of “justice” (a word they cannot define)?

        I don’t. That’s not really what I’m arguing. Here’s the meat of what I’m saying:

        “to say that there is no moral distinction at all between a police officer arresting and detaining you per legal procedures and your neighbor doing it on a whim is just silly.”

        If you can’t necessarily trust the state to dispense justice, that goes doubly for some guy who’s decided you seem suspicious and that he’s got a duty to contain you. In fact, isn’t the ‘problem’ with state-dispensed justice that sometimes it’s actually the latter thing? Which we all agree is bad?

        There’s a reason the State enforces their monopoly on force, they know that if people see others doing it better they’d lose their only excuse for existing!

        I actually think it’s considerably more complicated than that.

        1. “If you can’t necessarily trust the state to dispense justice, that goes doubly for some guy who’s decided you seem suspicious and that he’s got a duty to contain you. In fact, isn’t the ‘problem’ with state-dispensed justice that sometimes it’s actually the latter thing?”

          I’d say I’d trust “some guy” over the state. That “some guy” doesn’t have the means to enforce a monopoly on the use of force, and there are ways to punish his behavior that don’t involve civil war. Incentives, man.

          True, though, that the state is violent due in large part to tradition, and that’s why it’s so accepted.

          1. there are ways to punish his behavior that don’t involve civil war

            Are there, though? Who decides that he was wrong? Who enforces that decision? History has shown that competing entities covering these social services in the same area tend to engage in activities one might not unfairly characterize as “civil war.”

            I think most people who are arguing with me here are actually simply making the same point I am in a mirror – the problem with ‘state’ justice is that sometimes an over-empowered individual is acting on personal animus rather than ‘serving justice.’ Removing the state from the equation doesn’t change the moral problem of the individual acting on personal animus. Due process can mitigate those problems even as the incentives inherent in state action can work against due process.

            I don’t think that’s a good argument against due process, however.

            So unless you believe that despite all the efforts of the last 800 years to reign in arbitrary abuse of state power the modern US justice system is simply a more elaborate variation of the Sheriff of Nottingham, and that there is no difference between our justice system and third-world kangaroo courts, then I think you have to acknowledge that our due-process protections mitigate some of the abuses that would almost certainly be much more widespread were we to simply rely upon individual vigilantes’ senses of justice.

            1. “Are there, though?”

              Yes, there are. It’s called “private law”. Look it up. Social ostracism is a small part of it.

              “Who decides that he was wrong? Who enforces that decision?”

              Not the state.

              “History has shown that competing entities covering these social services in the same area tend to engage in activities one might not unfairly characterize as ‘civil war.'”

              Research the old west. https://ammo.com/articles/american-old-west-hollywood-wild-west-money-gun-control

              “the problem with ‘state’ justice is that sometimes an over-empowered individual is acting on personal animus rather than ‘serving justice.”

              The state never serves justice. It never repays the victim. It’s a violation of NAP by existing.

              “Removing the state from the equation doesn’t change the moral problem of the individual acting on personal animus.”

              It allows others to punish that individual.

              “simply a more elaborate variation of the Sheriff of Nottingham”

              Pretty much.

              “our due-process protections mitigate some of the abuses”

              This is probably true, at least in the short run.

              “almost certainly be much more widespread were we to simply rely upon individual vigilantes’ senses of justice”

              Strawman. Individuals don’t determine what should be done for justice, institutions that AREN’T the state can, such as juries.

              Once again, read the link for historical evidence that this has happened before telling me it’s impossible.

  6. Thanks. Now I have the courage to open up my own IRS. If I think you’re avoiding your Fair Share™ of taxes, I will hold a gun to your head and demand immediate payment. This vigilante racket could be very lucrative!

  7. Well, here’s a unicorn–an instance of the private sector stepping in to perform a function normally exercised by the government, that Reason won’t support.

    1. Not all functions normally exercised by the government should be exercised at all. I doubt Reason would support private detention camps where the prisoners, who may or may not be potential terrorists, are tortured and interrogated.

      1. Are detention camps of potential terrorists a normal function of government?

        1. Yes. The United States government has been running one for a decade and half now, not including the use its made of similar detention camps that other governments have had for generations.

      2. I doubt Reason would support private detention camps where the prisoners, who may or may not be potential terrorists, are tortured and interrogated.

        ^ This. As a matter of fact, Reason has been consistently critical of private prisons. There are limits to which industries are appropriate for privatization, and those “monopoly of force” industries are right at the top of the list.

        Again -same disclaimer- the detention and torture of those who may-or-may-not be terrorists is not a good thing even when governments do it. But empowering a private party to do the same would be even worse.

  8. In general, people become vigilantes out of frustration. Let’s face it: most of us are simply too lazy to put in the rather considerable effort and time required. But when the government consistently fails to address a problem, people eventually just snap.

    I think that is happening here. Neither major political party wants to solve this problem, and some people who are stuck dealing with the downside of illegal immigration just can’t take it anymore.

    That’s not to say that it’s necessarily a good solution. But it’s going to keep happening if the politicians keep dicking around.

    1. It’s not fundamentally different from individuals and organizations who help people illegally immigrate into the country either

      1. I agree.

    2. I wonder whether the UCP guys have ever really felt the downside of immigration. Do you think they can quantify it?

      It seems pretty likely to me that these guys are just plain-ol’ racists based on the reports I’ve read.

      1. I wouldn’t know. But if they perceive that the U.S. government has lost control of the southern border, I think that argument isn’t necessarily bogus.

        1. Was there a time when the U. S. government had control of the southern border?

          1. Mexican-American war.

      2. I’m part Mexican, and I’m from California originally… Everybody who lives on the west coast, Texas, or the southwest has felt the pain of mass scale illegal immigration.

        Everything from my school not having enough money to fucking buy proper supplies, to crime being mostly committed by illegals or their anchor baby kids, on and on.

        FUCK illegals. If I lived in a border state I’d probably be doing this shit too. My family bailed out of Cali to escape the insanity a long time ago, but for those that are still there illegal immigration is a daily mess in direct and indirect ways.

        1. Live by the government largess, die by the government largess.

    3. Like how they used to snap when the tax man got a little too heavy.

      1. This is why the IRS now only hires skinny people.

    4. In general, people become vigilantes out of frustration.

      IME *immigration vigilantes* become so out of a combination of boredom and lack of purpose. A lot of these guys are retirees or dudes with insufficient stuff to do at home. It makes them feel like they’re part of something important, gives purpose and focus to their lives, and fills that dead time that otherwise would be spent at the corner bar getting blitzed.

      We’re not talking about people living in communities under siege by the gang running the crack-house down the street. MS-13 isn’t hanging out in Nogales. This is probably the safest vigilante gig there is – you’re in more danger of getting skin cancer than in a fight.

      1. As I said above it’s more than gangs or whatever. Shit like your local hospital not being able to fund itself because of all the ER visits etc matters too, or your kids school being broke because a bunch of poor illegals live there who don’t pay in enough to cover their fair share of taxes. One could go on forever. And even if there’s no MS-13, non official gang members commit crimes too. Hispanics are waaay disproportionately represented in all forms of crime, 2nd only to blacks in the USA.

        But yeah, I’m sure most of the guys doing this have freetime… Which is kind of required to be able to do ANY extracurricular activity.

  9. The difference is the Border Patrol agents have all those stinking badges.
    Where as all the other don’t have any of those stinking badges.
    But then again, who wants to wear a badge that stinks?

    1. It seems that the UCP don’t need no stinkin’ badges.

  10. When the government fails to do it job it becomes the responsibility of the citizens, but like I always say the government does not like competition since the competition always does a better job

  11. If you think about it, the illegal border crossers are vigilantes too.

    The U.S. has laws which govern immigration into the country. People who feel the laws aren’t working are taking the law into their own hands by saying “fuck it, I’m going into that country anyway”.

    1. If you think about it, the illegal border crossers are vigilantes too.

      What laws are they attempting to enforce?

      1. Nothing in a statute book. I’m not really thinking of it in that sense but rather as people pursuing what they perceive as justice.

        I will allow that it strains the definition a bit, but I think it’s not so much different.

  12. Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!

  13. “it should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone.”

    And why is that exactly? I’m really curious when the shift occurred. Once upon a time there was no regular professional (lol) police force so when someone was arrested and hauled before a court, it was done by a private person or entity, ie a “regular citizen” without special privileges. Is there a law in every state/jurisdiction that says only certain government employees are allowed to make an arrest? Or, does it just “go without saying”?

    1. Too lazy to be sure about New Mexico, but here is the California (yes THAT California) statute.
      837. A private person may arrest another:
      For a public offense committed or attempted in his/her presence.
      When the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in his/her presence.
      When a felony has been in fact committed, and he or she has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested to have committed it.

  14. “”I’m really curious when the shift occurred.””

    Sometime between all animals are created equal, and some animals are more equal than others.

  15. I always thought ‘Citizen’s arrest’ was a real, legit thing.

    1. It absolutely is, but don’t expect to get unqualified immunity if you do it.

      The two differences between the police, and private citizens doing citizens’ arrest, are,

      1. The former gets paid.
      2. The latter better get it right or he’s screwed.

  16. The 2nd amendment exists so the people acting as militia can defend their state when it’s under attack. Do these people have a problem with the Minutemen confronting the British at Lexington and Concord?

    1. Yes, yes they do.

    2. Do these people have a problem with the Minutemen confronting the British at Lexington and Concord?

      Oddly enough, people in 1776 were pretty good at distinguishing the immigrants coming from Britain from the armed troops showing up with flags and colors of a foreign sovereign as part of an organized invasion after a declaration of war.

      1. So the only justifiable, to you, defense by citizens would be against armed, uniformed invaders clearly identifying themselves as military forces from a nation whom the US has officially declared war against?

  17. Given the unsavory history of Hopkins and the UCP
    The author linked to a WaPo article that only has any “unsavory” details about Hopkins. There is nothing in the author’s post nor in the WaPo article which specifically points to “unsavory history” of the UCP in general.
    In addition, no one seems to be able to definitively state what felony Hopkins was convicted of, such that he is a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. He is currently charged for something that occurred in 2017, an incident not related to the recent UCP actions near the border. The SPLC produced an incident report in which Hopkins allegedly impersonated a police officer. The WaPo story mentions Hopkins was indicted, but it doesn’t even say whether he was convicted or not. Just that he didn’t serve jail time.
    These guys may very well be racist dirtbags. But so far nothing produced by anybody has shown anything other than citizens frustrated with a situation that the Feds don’t seem to be doing anything about.

  18. “it should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone.”

    I would point out that that is completely not true in the United States. In fact, its sort of a *duty* of people to do this. The police are just the people *paid* to do this.

    In the United States a private person may arrest another without a warrant, for a crime occurring in their presence. For which crimes this is permitted may vary state by state.

    Whether it should or should not be, crossing the border at a non-approved location is a crime. If someone sees someone doing that, its certainly within their power – even a duty – to detain that person and notify law enforcement. And yeah, that even extends to seeing someone smoke a joint.

    1. Personally, I don’t think they should be detaining anyone. ‘Keeping watch’, sure, whatever. Call the cops when you see something. Detaining people gets you too close to allowing the less-disciplined members of your group, the ones looking for trouble, to get into trouble – even if they have to make it themselves.

      These mostly aren’t violent people, they’re just coming to make a living, you’re not preventing a rape or murder by detaining anyone, call the cops and let them deal with it.

      1. Why shouldn’t they detain them while the border patrol arrives to arrest them?

      2. Actually, saw an interview with one of these guys, and he claimed that, in fact, they DON’T “detain” anybody, they just call in to the ICE when they find them, and that, while they carry guns for self defense, they’ve never yet had to fire one.

  19. Any journalists figured out if the citizens arrest took place on private or public property? Are we talking real live trespass violations, or ‘just’ invading a sovereign nation?

  20. So, what law, Federal or State, precludes making a Citizens Arrest, and detaining/transporting said arrestee for/to the CBP?

  21. Soooooooo what if this was on private property?

    Do people not have the right to prevent trespassing on their PRIVATE land now, because that’s a SUPER libertarian position! Illegals 3rd worlders are more important than property rights now huh?

    You Cosmotarians sure are somethin’. I think what these guys are doing is awesome. This is exactly the kind of non government, community organized type of stuff that libertarians should celebrate!

  22. “Now imagine the same situation, except the perpetrators are government agents acting in their capacity as such: The police beat Rodney King, the National Security Administration hacks your phone and email without a warrant, or the sheriff arrests you for pot possession. Does that change things?”

    I’ve been told government is things we do together.

    1. It’s the people we oppress/kill together.

  23. Heavily-armed men escorting illegal immigrants across the border. https://www.liveleak.com/view?t=dvl4_1556104978

  24. With that principle in mind, it’s hard to see much daylight between the actions of UCP members and those of Border Patrol agents on the southern border.

    Only if you accept the principle in the first place.

    But things have to get far worse then they are before I’m willing to accept that self-appointed vigilantes have equivalent moral and actual authority as duly-appointed police officers and soldiers.

    Simply put, before we’re at the point where I’d accept that starting-point principle, we’d have to be damn close to civil war and revolution. Which despite the talking heads who claim a civil war is imminent every time we have a new president, we aren’t.

  25. I was about to post, “Britschgi has gone full retard”, but that would be an insult to rational people with Down Syndrome.

  26. there’s not a huge difference between immigration officials detaining peaceful immigrants and private paramilitaries doing the same thing.

    Peaceful immigrants who enter our country in accordance with our laws are not detained. They just present their papers at the border and are processed through in the normal way. It is the aggressive, invading “immigrants” who enter our country illegally who are detained.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.