Very recently, a citizen’s militia group arrested 300 illegal aliens in the state of New Mexico. The leader of this group has been arrested and charged as a felon in possession of firearms. The felony, according to the news, was that he made threats on the lives of a former president and secretary of state. Whether this is true goes far beyond my interest in the incident, except that it was stated that these militia members could be charged with kidnapping (the illegals). Note: New Mexico attitudes would be better understood by simple removing the word “New” in its title. But there is a larger issue. I’ll present it in steps.
Step 1: Title 8, United States Code 1325: Improper entry by an alien
Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall … be fined under Title 18 or imprisoned not more than six months or both, and …
Step 2: United States Common Law
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 from one state to another.
Step 3: New Mexico Law: Stat 31-4-14 (1937)
The arrest of a person may be lawfully made also by any peace officer or private person without a warrant upon reasonable information that the accused stands charged in the courts of a state with a crime punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, but when so arrested the accused must be taken before a judge or magistrate with all practicable speed and complaint must be made against him under oath setting forth the ground for the arrest … and therefore his answer shall be heard as if he had been arrested on a warrant.
The simple part of this is that citizens of the United States armed themselves and went to a known illegal alien trafficking area. While in this area, 300 illegals came upon these citizens and surrendered, requesting asylum. The citizens held them (detained them) and called for immigration officers, who arrived and took said 300 asylum-seekers into custody. By the wording of the federal statute, illegal entry appears to be a misdemeanor, not a felony, unless the perpetrator has unlawfully entered the United States on more than one occasions. In my view, this is a serious fallacy of the federal law. First time offense should be a felony and treated as such.
Since this incident, all the far-left whacko’s in Nuevo Mexico have experienced a pandemic of exploding heads. The citizens are being described, among other things, as vigilantes and armed thugs. The illegal aliens are being described as “asylum-seekers.” In both examples, an appeal to emotion that defeats their position from its beginning. But I do think that the matter should interest all of us.
If these citizens have taken it upon themselves to augment an overwhelmed border patrol, I should think that federal authorities would be grateful for their help. Maybe the state and federal government should encourage American citizens to involve themselves. For example, they could organize state and/or federal posse’s —the membership of which could be carefully regulated with mandatory training and certification. They might also secure a waiver for liability should any of these citizens be killed while acting in such capacity (which is entirely possible along the US-Mexico border).
But were these illegal aliens kidnapped? No. They were detained. Law enforcement was summoned to the scene immediately. Were these citizens acting as vigilantes or thugs? It doesn’t sound like it to me. But here’s what didn’t happen: no shots were fired; no one was cuffed; no one was transferred to another place against their will.
What it does sound like is that the federal government, who by the mere size of the US-Mexico border region, is incapable of doing its job, but does not want the scrutiny of citizens who simply want to achieve safety in their own communities. Rather than taking advantage of citizens willing to step forward (at no cost to either state or federal authorities), they are in the process of heaping charge after charge against them.
United Constitutional Patriots New Mexico Border Ops more still flooding in
A group of 300 men, women and children gave themselves up to the ‘United Constitutional Patriots’, a gang of vigilantes made up veterans and former police officers who then handed them over to border officials.
Kidnapping is a serious offense. I’m not seeing any element of kidnapping in this case, but since the authorities want to play hardball (to make an example of them) these fellows would be best advised to find a damn good lawyer.
Why this post? I’m curious about the opinions of Bunkerville readers.
Mustang has other great reads over at his two blogs – Thoughts from Afar
with Old West Tales and Fix Bayonets