Words by ITV News Washington Editor Jonathan Wald and Producer Sarika Gandhi
“The only thing for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” - The words of Edmund Burke, are also the words used by Patriots For America, a group in Texas that sets out to defend and protect the border between America and Mexico.
According to the latest National and state polls, concerns about immigration are one of, if not the biggest concern for US voters ahead of the Presidential election in less than nine months.
Eagle Pass is a small Texas border city in the Del Rio sector. It has been known to be an epicenter for migrant crossings.
The town of about 30,000 people has become a major corridor for illegal crossings in recent years.
The small town has become known for its razor wire fences attempting to prevent migrant crossing, shipping containers acting as a make-shift barrier, and rotational patrols of the Texas National Guard.
It’s also at the heart of a state and federal clash over border security.
In January, the state of Texas took control of Shelby Park on the banks of Rio Grande, Eagle Pass.
Since then, there has been a feud between Texas’ Republican governor and the Democratic White House.
In Eagle Pass, Texas armed militia are now patrolling the border, as migrants continue to cross from Mexico into the United States.
Patriots for America is a conservative Christian militia trying to stop human trafficking and drug crime, based in North Texas.
The militia was formed in 2015, and they helped people get their cars to rallies.
Later in 2019, the group began a new focus on combating child sex trafficking.
And then in 2021, the PFA started its big border missions - continuing to prevent human trafficking and limiting the operation of drug cartels on the border.
The group has attracted members not just in Texas, but in Florida, Illinois, and Michigan.
The militia claims nearly 2,000 members nationwide, although exact figures are not available due to security concerns.
The members patrol the river at various times of day, trace migrants through carrizo cane, and carry night-vision equipment.
The group has also had permission from landowners on the border for their cause.
Overall, illegal crossings along the US-Mexico border have declined since a record high in December 2023.
In January, Border Patrol recorded a high 125,000 migrant apprehensions in between ports of entry along the southern border, compared to nearly 250,000 in December.
The PFA's actions and behavior have caused concern among Human Rights groups.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has been particularly critical of the group.
They claim the group has been patrolling the border without training, questioning migrants, and detaining them.
The PFA has denied any accusations of White Supremacy, racism, violence, or intimidation towards migrants. The founder, Samuel Hall says the group is faith-based, Christ-centred - and a peaceful organisation.
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