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Latino Daily News

Saturday August 23, 2014

Border Vigilantes Return in Wake of Surge of Unaccompanied Children

Border Vigilantes Return in Wake of Surge of Unaccompanied Children

Photo: Children at the border

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The flood of unaccompanied Central American children in recent months has sparked a comeback of militias like the Minutemen, making even more complex the situation on the Mexican border.

“We see a national movement in which radical groups are trying in every way possible to take advantage of the situation. Last week the leader of the KKK said publicly that what they ought to do is go to the border and kill someone,” Mark Potok, who monitors hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Efe.

In recent weeks the presence of civilian militias has grown along the Mexican border, particularly in Arizona and Texas.

These groups have expressed their annoyance at the arrival in recent months of more than 63,000 undocumented immigrant minors from Central American countries, as well as mothers with children.

“We know the KKK won’t really go to the border with guns to stop anyone, that’s all a disgusting ploy. But they know statements like that will get them coverage in the national media,” Potok said.

Radical groups have a history of using the subject of illegal immigration to recruit more members, he said.

This is not the first time that militias patrol the Mexican border - in 2005 a group of vigilantes was organized known as the Minuteman Project.

Hundreds of armed men and women went to the border with Mexico to halt what they called “an invasion” of illegal immigrants.

The movement, which grabbed national and international attention, gradually disintegrated, largely due to internal problems and scandals.

In 2011, Shawna Forde, one of the movement’s founders in Arizona, was sentenced to death for killing Raul Junior Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Gina Brisenia Flores, on the Arizona-Mexico border.

Forde and several accomplices broke into the family’s house demanding drugs.

James Gilchrist, the Minuteman Project founder, recently announced that the group is being reorganized and expects to send some 3,000 Minutemen to the Mexican border by 2015.

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