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Thread: "They Killed Us": Crowdfunding Sites Have Cut Off An Armed Militia Detaining Migrants

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    "They Killed Us": Crowdfunding Sites Have Cut Off An Armed Militia Detaining Migrants

    "They Killed Us": Crowdfunding Sites Have Cut Off An Armed Militia Detaining Migrants At The Border

    The militia, which detained hundreds of migrants at gunpoint, is accused of violating the crowdfunding sites' policy on the promotion of hate or violence.

    Salvador Hernandez
    BuzzFeed News Reporter
    Adolfo Flores BuzzFeed News Reporter

    Posted on April 19, 2019, at 10:27 p.m. ET


    Paul Ratje / AFP / Getty Images

    Members of the United Constitutional Patriots patrol the US-Mexico border in Sunland Park, New Mexico.

    A right-wing “patriot” group that detained hundreds of migrants at gunpoint at the southern border this week after raising thousands of dollars online were notified their fundraising campaigns have been shut down by crowdfunding giants PayPal and GoFundMe, dealing a major blow to the militia's operation.

    Known as the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP), the militia group has been patrolling a stretch of the New Mexico desert for months with heavily armed members reportedly detaining dozens of migrants a day.

    The group has used the thousands of dollars in online donations to supply food, gasoline, propane, and a portable toilet at a camp in Sunland, New Mexico, but by Friday morning members of the militia learned they would no longer be able to use PayPal or GoFundMe to raise money.

    "They killed us," Mark Cheney, who described himself as commander of United Constitutional Patriots, told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. "I have to find some other way for people to donate."

    On Friday, the militia group was notified that both their PayPal and GoFundMe campaigns had been shut down after it was accused of violating the crowdfunding sites' policy on the promotion of hate or violence, and in at least one instance using the money to buy firearms. Cheney denied that the group used donations to buy weapons.

    "The account associated with United Constitutional Patriots has been closed due to a violation of our Acceptable Use Policy," a spokesperson for PayPal told BuzzFeed News in a statement. "We do not allow PayPal services to be used to promote hate, violence, or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory."

    That decision, Cheney said, dealt a significant blow to the group's operation in a remote area of the southern border, where costs quickly "build up" over weeks.

    "As the commander it's my responsibility to find some way for people to donate," he said.

    Members of the group have been camped at the border since November, hoping to shut off the flow of immigrants across the border they have called an "invasion."

    Leaders of the group say they've detained more than 3,000 migrants, and members have posted dozens of videos online showing migrants, including young children, held in detention near the border.


    Paul Ratje / AFP / Getty Images

    Dozens of people who had just crossed the US-Mexico border are detained in Sunland Park, New Mexico, by the United Constitutional Patriots.

    But this week state and local officials issued warnings to the group after some of the videos suggested members were stopping immigrants at gunpoint, wearing badges, and falsely identifying themselves as law enforcement.

    Cheney, who has been a member of the United Constitutional Patriots since its inception six years ago, didn't dispute that its members were armed when detaining immigrants at the border.
    "Oh sure, we'd be fools not to be," he said.

    He conceded some of the men don badges that resemble those worn by law enforcement.

    "If [immigrants] can't tell the difference, that's their problem," he said.

    In at least one of the videos posted online, a person can be heard yelling at the migrants, "Policia!" or "Police," in heavily accented Spanish before detaining the border crossers. Cheney said the person yelling, "must have been one of the immigrants."

    On Thursday, the New Mexico Attorney General released a statement saying members of the militia "should not attempt to exercise authority reserved for law enforcement."


    Paul Ratje / AFP / Getty Images

    A member of United Constitutional Patriots shows their group's patch outside their camper in Anapra, New Mexico.

    Peter Simonson, executive director for the ACLU of New Mexico, said citizen arrests can only be made in the case of a felony being committed. Illegal entry into the US is only a misdemeanor, not enough for someone to carry out a citizen's arrest.

    Simonson said he grew concerned about the militia impersonating law enforcement officers after watching the videos posted by the group.

    "That's one crime that is a federal felony," Simonson told BuzzFeed News. "I also suspect the militias could be guilty of false imprisonment and maybe even kidnapping, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.'

    Armed detention of large groups of people who recently crossed the border is "completely unprecedented," Simonson said, even when compared to the Minutemen Project that descended on the border in 2005 and 2006.

    "This pales in comparison to anything I've previously seen," Simonson said. "This underscores the importance of authorities prosecuting thee issues to the fullest extent of the law. They need to send a signal to any other group considering this type of anarchy, it is simply prohibited and illegal."

    Cheney contends that what the group does — there are currently six members stationed at the border — is legal and a "duty."

    United Constitutional Patriots have had a sporadic presence at the border for about two years, he said, a sight welcomed by the local sheriff and Border Patrol officers.

    "If the Border Patrol says, 'We don't need you,' we'll leave," he said.


    Facebook / United Constitutional Patriots / Via

    A member of the United Constitutional Patriots, a militia-like group that has been detaining migrants at the border, poses with two Border Patrol agents.

    Javier Guerra, police chief for the city of Sunland Park, told BuzzFeed News he warned the group not to detain migrants or point their weapons at people. The militia, Guerra said, told him they had descended on the area at the invitation of Border Patrol and the White House, and claimed that they had a direct line to President Trump.

    After seeing news reports about the group's actions Thursday, Guerra said he went to the militia’s base camp and told them they do not have the authority to conduct a citizen's arrest.

    “It’s illegal,” Guerra told them.

    In a statement, US Customs and Border Protection officials said the agency did not "endorse or condone private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands."

    The migrants detained in recent weeks by the militia have since been released from federal custody, Guerra said, adding that authorities would likely need material witnesses to build a case against the group despite the videos they posted.

    Cheney said their interaction with agents at the border, however, was very different. Militia members speak with agents "on an hourly basis," he said.

    "They're happy we're here," he said about CBP. "We have a direct line to the local outpost."

    Although the group is armed, he said, they've never had the need to fire a weapon. Members of the militia instruct migrants to sit down while Border Patrol arrives and most of them, he said, follow their command.

    "If they don't stop, we can't stop them," he said. "We're not there to hurt anybody, harm anybody. We're here to help slow it down."

    And despite the warnings from state and federal officials, concerns from civil liberty groups, and a halt to their funding stream, the group intends on staying put.

    "Some people might not want us up there," Cheney said. "All I could say is, 'tough.'"


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  2. #2
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Why isn't it a FELONY for our own government to KEEP, kidnap, and release foreign minors who are UACS, all over our country.

    That is despicable, it IS kidnapping of minors who are runaways!

    Process them and hand them over into the care and custody of their President within 24 hours!
    GeorgiaPeach likes this.


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