"Armed vigilantes unlawfully detaining migrants" near U.S.-Mexico border, ACLU says

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin

/ CBS News

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico says "armed vigilantes" are detaining migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border and is calling on officials to launch a probe into the group it calls a "fascist militia."

"[W]e cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum," the ACLU said in a letter sent to the New Mexico governor and attorney general.

The organization said the group that calls itself the United Constitutional Patriots detained nearly 300 people on Tuesday near Sunland Park, New Mexico, who were seeking safety in the United States.

Trending News

A live video shared early Tuesday on the group's Facebook page shows a large group of people, including children, sitting and kneeling on the ground. A voice of the woman apparently taking the video says, "I don't know if we got 'em all. But this is crazy. I don't know what to say about this other than the fact it's gotta stop."

Other videos appear to show the group's activities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and people who just crossed into the United States.

In one video shared Wednesday by Jim Benvie, the spokesman for the United Constitutional Patriots, he appears to stop a group of seven people who just crossed an area where a border fence ends. "And of course as usual, this is why we're here, guys," he says. "Because there's no Border Patrol – they're busy right now."

A Border Patrol vehicle is later seen arriving.

Jim Benvie, 43, from Minnesota, looks on near the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Anapra, New Mexico, on March 20, 2019. The militia members say they will patrol the border near Mt. Christo Rey, "Until the wall is built." Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

Armed groups have long policed the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Reuters news agency. And recently, militias have boosted their activities in states including New Mexico, The New York Times reported.

Benvie told The Times that for two months his group camped near El Paso. "We're just here to support the Border Patrol and show the public the reality of the border," he said, according to the publication.

"If these people follow our verbal commands, we hold them until Border Patrol comes," Benvie said. "Border Patrol has never asked us to stand down."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement early Friday it "does not endorse or condone private groups or organizations that take enforcement matters into their own hands. Interference by civilians in law enforcement matters could have public safety and legal consequences for all parties involved."

"If a member of the community witnesses or suspects illegal activity, please call 911, or if related to illegal cross-border activity, call the Border Patrol tip line at 1-877-872-7435 or 1-800-BE-ALERT," it added.

The Associated Press reported that more than 700 migrants were taken into custody along the border between Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Border Patrol's El Paso sector, which includes New Mexico and areas in West Texas, recorded more than 1,800 apprehensions on Tuesday alone, the AP reported, citing authorities.

politics-border-US-MEXICO-POLITICS-BORDER-MILITIA-IMMIGRATION
Members of the Constitutional Patriots New Mexico Border Ops Team militia, Viper and Stinger who go by aliases to protect their identity, patrol the U.S.-Mexico border in Sunland Park, New Mexico on March 20, 2019. Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

First published on April 19, 2019 / 2:37 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

politics-border-US-MEXICO-POLITICS-BORDER-MILITIA-IMMIGRATION politics-border-US-MEXICO-POLITICS-BORDER-MILITIA-IMMIGRATION

"House of horrors" parents get 25 years to life as kids speak out

The horrific plight of the 13 siblings was revealed in January 2018 when a girl escaped captivity and called 911

updated 23M ago

Columbine shooting survivors reflect 20 years later

Craig Scott, Amanda Stair, Heather Martin, Michelle Wheeler and Frank DeAngelis spoke with Jeff Glor about their experiences since that day

20H ago

Pompeo dismisses North Korea's call for him to be replaced

The secretary of state spoke after a meeting with the acting defense secretary and their Japanese counterparts

2M ago

Got $20? You, too, can drink like Dwyane Wade

The retired Miami Heat superstar finished a bottle of rosé while on the golf course this week

3M ago

2020 Dems sidestep impeachment talk after Mueller report release

Donald Trump should be defeated at the ballot box, a number of Democratic contenders say

updated 12M ago

Pompeo dismisses North Korea's call for him to be replaced

The secretary of state spoke after a meeting with the acting defense secretary and their Japanese counterparts

2M ago

2020 Dems sidestep impeachment talk after Mueller report release

Donald Trump should be defeated at the ballot box, a number of Democratic contenders say

updated 12M ago

Preview: Pete Buttigieg's thoughts on the presidency

In an interview for "Sunday Morning" the South Bend, Ind. mayor also talks about his marriage, and why the presidency should be a "moral office"

1H ago

Russia mocks Mueller probe for finding "caviar" but no collusion

"There is nothing in it that would be worth paying attention to," Russia's Foreign Ministry tells state-run media

3H ago

Mayor Pete wants Phish at his inauguration

"It's worth a shot, maybe we should ask them," he said

3H ago

Fashion industry's carbon impact is bigger than airline industry's

As consumers learn of toll fast fashion can take on the environment, they're embracing less wasteful alternatives

2H ago

Teen burned to death after refusing to drop sex harassment charges

Protesters demand justice for Nusrat Jahan Rafi in Bangladesh's capital of Dhaka

2H ago

Russia mocks Mueller probe for finding "caviar" but no collusion

"There is nothing in it that would be worth paying attention to," Russia's Foreign Ministry tells state-run media

3H ago

Bees atop Notre Dame Cathedral survive fire

European bees don't flee their hives in danger; they stayed put and got drunk on smoke

3H ago

"Computer glitch" may be behind Notre Dame fire, rector says

Fire burned through network of oak beams supporting Notre Dame's vaulted stone ceiling, dangerously weakening it

updated 6M ago

Mayor Pete wants Phish at his inauguration

"It's worth a shot, maybe we should ask them," he said

3H ago

Star-studded climate change music video drops

Even Leonardo DiCaprio makes a cameo

5H ago

Review: Terry Gilliam finally wrestles "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" to the screen

The filmmaker's long-in the-works rendition of the Cervantes legend transforms contemporary times into an age of chivalry

5H ago

Judge allows sex-trafficking claim against Harvey Weinstein

In addition, the judge dramatically shrank scope of an action trying to treat the former movie producer and various companies like a mob organization

19H ago

16-year-old TV and film actress collapses and dies

She appeared in the 2013 movie "Cloud Atlas," alongside Tom Hanks and Halle Berry

14H ago

"Text me $$$": Debt collectors want OK to text and email consumers

A federal agency wants to update rules about how debt collectors contact borrowers. Consumer advocates fear abuses

4H ago

Debt collectors could soon text and email you

A federal agency says debt-collection regulations need to be updated to reflect new technology like smartphones.

4H ago 00:59

How to protect data when using health apps

Apps are being used for everything from tracking your diet to your daily steps and even your pregnancy. But that health-related data might not be as safe as you expect. Recent research published in BMJ, the British Medical Journal, found 79 percent of the top medication-related mobile apps shared user data in ways that may compromise sensitive information. Wired senior writer Issie Lapowsky joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the latest research.

5H ago 04:26

Pinterest pinned hopes on big IPO. Looks like it got one

Stock price — trading under ticker symbol "PINS" — zoomed to nearly $25 a share from $19 opening bid within hours of NYSE debut

3H ago

Pinterest shares soar on 1st day of trading

Shares in Pinterest soared 28 percent Thursday during the newly public company's first hours of trading under the New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol PINS.

18H ago 00:32

New York City slashes its biggest source of carbon emissions

In a first, America's largest city is moving to curb emissions by requiring buildings to become more energy-efficient

19H ago

12-foot, 1,600-lb shark being tracked in Gulf of Mexico

Researchers are OCEARCH are tracking the location of a giant great white shark

21H ago

"Green" buildings sprouting in record numbers

Buildings around the globe account for roughly 40 percent of the world's carbon emissions. In response, a growing number of cities are adapting old and new structures in ways that save energy and cut down on emissions.

21H ago 01:22

Evidence found for first molecule in the universe

"This molecule was lurking out there, but we needed the right instruments," a top NASA scientist said

Apr 17

Watch: Rocket launches cargo to space station

An Antares rocket blasted off from the Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia carrying a Cygnus cargo ship loaded with supplies for the International Space Station.

Apr 17 01:45

Blood pressure medication recall expanded

It's the latest in a string of recalls over concerns of potential cancer-causing impurities

1H ago

Girl died of congenital condition, not school fight injuries, prosecutor says

A family attorney, however, says the girl was bullied for years and they still have questions about how she died

3H ago

Amid measles outbreak, anti-vax mom defends "medical freedom"

There are at least 555 confirmed cases in 20 states, according to the CDC

7H ago

Listeria outbreak linked to deli meats turns deadly

The outbreak has sickened eight people and led to one death, the CDC reports

21H ago

McConnell proposes raising minimum age to buy tobacco to 21 nationwide

The bill will cover all tobacco products, including vaping devices

22H ago

Got $20? You, too, can drink like Dwyane Wade

The retired Miami Heat superstar finished a bottle of rosé while on the golf course this week

3M ago

Bunny bans seek to stop Easter holiday purchases of live rabbits

Americans looking to buy real live Easter bunnies won't find them for sale at pet stores in California and dozens of cities

1H ago

Earth Day challenge for gardeners: Don't poison bees

To help, more garden centers are curbing, ending or labeling plants treated with potentially bee-harming pesticides

Apr 18

Fashion industry's carbon impact is bigger than airline industry's

As consumers learn of toll fast fashion can take on the environment, they're embracing less wasteful alternatives

2H ago

Fashion industry a big source of emissions

The clothing industry accounts for 8 percent of the world's carbon emissions. So what's it doing to reduce that figure?

2H ago 01:14

"House of horrors" parents get 25 years to life as kids speak out

The horrific plight of the 13 siblings was revealed in January 2018 when a girl escaped captivity and called 911

updated 23M ago

Girl died of congenital condition, not school fight injuries, prosecutor says

A family attorney, however, says the girl was bullied for years and they still have questions about how she died

3H ago

Cop fired deadly shot before he could analyze threat, partner testifies

The partner of Mohamed Noor acknowledged under defense questioning he feared an ambush before the shooting

3H ago

How guns sales have changed 20 years after Columbine

Infamous school shooting followed by more bloodshed, with firearms killing nearly 40,000 in 2017 even as fewer people own guns

3H ago

"48 Hours" preview: "In Jason's Name"

A new episode of "48 Hours" investigates the case of a victim's sister fighting to clear her brother's name after his death. Correspondent Maureen Maher joined CBSN with more on "In Jason's Name." Watch it on CBS Saturday night at 10/9c.

4H ago 05:34

Evidence found for first molecule in the universe

"This molecule was lurking out there, but we needed the right instruments," a top NASA scientist said

Apr 17

Watch: Rocket launches cargo to space station

An Antares rocket blasted off from the Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia carrying a Cygnus cargo ship loaded with supplies for the International Space Station.

Apr 17 01:45

Rocket launches with cargo for space station

Loaded with 3.8 tons of supplies and equipment, the Cygnus cargo ship will need two days to reach the space station

Apr 17

Researchers reveal changes to astronaut's body

Retired astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days in space during an extended stay aboard the International Space Station in 2015-16, did not suffer any major long-term health effects that might raise warning signs for future long-duration flights, scientists reported Thursday. CBS News space consultant Bill Harwood joins CBSN with details.

Apr 11 01:08

Israeli spacecraft fails to land on moon

CBS News space consultant Bill Harwood speaks to CBSN about the failed moon landing and Thursday's other headlines: SpaceX's second launch of their Falcon Heavy rocket and NASA's report that astronaut Scott Kelly experienced biological changes during his year-long orbit in space.

Apr 11 05:36

Photos: Fire burns Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

On April 15, 2019 flames erupted at the landmark cathedral, the most-visited landmark in the French capital

Apr 16 46 photos

Star Wars Celebration 2019

The four-day convention for fans of the Star Wars saga, held in Chicago, included cosplayers, panels with the filmmakers, and the debut of the trailer for Episode IX of the series

Apr 13 39 photos

Awkward Easter Bunny photos

Children love the Easter Bunny – until they meet him

Apr 12 35 photos

The folk art of Bill Traylor

Born into slavery, the self-taught painter who began his artistic life in his 80s is the focus of a retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Apr 7 24 photos

America's surprising food recalls

What's in your fridge? Just maybe salmonella, E. coli – and a dead bat?

Apr 5 38 photos

Popular

Warriors take series lead on Clippers

The Golden State Warriors rebounded from a blown lead in Game 2 to win Game 3 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Bill Reiter of CBS Sports HQ joined CBSN to break down the week's headlines in sports.

42M ago 05:26

Ex-FBI agent to 911: "I may have killed him"

Listen as a 911 dispatcher in Davidson County, N.C., directs Tom Martens and his daughter Molly Corbett how to perform CPR after Martens called for help the night of Aug. 2, 2015. Martens says he had to intervene in self-defense after his son-in-law Jason Corbett got into fight with his daughter.

1H ago 01:53

Bride has photoshoot with dying dad

A Virginia bride asked a photographer to use the deposit for her engagement photos to take pictures with her dad instead. He had advanced prostate cancer and wanted to have a father-daughter dance with the bride before he passed.

2H ago 01:25

Fashion industry a big source of emissions

The clothing industry accounts for 8 percent of the world's carbon emissions. So what's it doing to reduce that figure?

2H ago 01:14

(Un)Welcome: Sweden's rise of the right

In this installment of CBSN Originals’ ongoing examination at how migration is reshaping the world, Adam Yamaguchi travels to Sweden to examine how a record influx of migrants has coincided with the recently welcoming and politically progressive nation's swift shift to the right.

Apr 15 23:06