UK & World News

  • 27 August 2014, 4:18

US Border Control Warns Off Armed Militias

The US Border Patrol has warned private militias to stay out of the battle to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the country.

A number of volunteer armies have appeared along the US-Mexico border in recent weeks as the country faces an unprecedented surge of migrants from Central America.

But the agency tasked with policing the border says those militias cause more problems than they solve.

Border Patrol agent Joe Gutierrez told Sky News: "Generally we don't encourage people to take the law into their own hands. We are uniquely qualified to do this job specifically. The public do act as our eyes and ears and we encourage them to do that."

The US government has flooded the border area with extra resources in recent weeks in an effort to tackle the growing crisis. Texas Governor Rick Perry has also deployed the National Guard to the region.

Sky News joined Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley - so far this year, more illegal immigrants have been apprehended in the valley than in the rest of the United States put together.

While we were filming with agents, a group of migrants emerged from the bush. They had been dispatched across the Rio Grande on a raft by people smugglers.

Patty, a young woman from Honduras, had been travelling with her two-year-old son for six weeks. She told us the journey had been hard because she was walking without shoes. Many of those in the group were unaccompanied children, hoping to be allowed to stay in the US.

Militia groups say they are not concerned with women and children arriving. They fear drug cartels, criminal gangs and terrorists following the same path.

Kelli Gordon runs one of the private militia now patrolling the Rio Grande Valley.

She told Sky News: "My country is being invaded. If the government isn't going to protect our borders then that leaves we the people.

"We do need a militia because without it you need more police and we don't want more police.

"No-one wants to do this. We don't want to be out here but the militia is very important. We won't be unarmed because we are the last line of defence against tyranny."

No-one knows how many migrants are actually making it across the border but even those who do face a perilous journey north.

To avoid a checkpoint 80 miles inside Texas at Farfallas, many migrants head off across farmland, risking heat and exhaustion.

The bodies of more than one hundred migrants were found dumped in a mass grave at the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Farfallas.

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