The Mexican border has become a major point of contention. While some Americans feel letting illegal immigrants into the country isn’t an issue, others feel their entry causes a hardship for the country. Some Americans have opted to take matters into their own hands, which led the FBI to arrest Larry Mitchell Hopkins.
Hopkins is part of a heavily armed militia group that has reportedly detained over 300 illegal immigrants crossing the border. The 69-year-old is part of The United Constitutional Patriots, an organization known for their conspiracy theories. The group has also taken it upon themselves to patrol the border, according to The Daily Beast.
Hopkins was arrested and charged with possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon at his New Mexico home Saturday evening.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas explained in a statement that Hopkins “is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families. Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes.”
Hopkins and UCP have claimed that they are employees of the United States Border Patrol, a claim that has been publicly denied by a border patrol spokesperson. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands.”
The New Mexico Governor’s Office made a statement that condemned the militia’s actions. “They have absolutely not been authorized by our office or any other. We are actively working with the AG’s Office, state police and local police to determine what has gone on and what can and will be done. That migrant families might be menaced or threatened in any way, shape or form is completely unacceptable.”
The militia group regularly post videos of them pointing firearms at the immigrants they detain, many of them women and children, WJHL reported. The group has faced backlash as many have claimed that UCP members are kidnapping people.
The Daily Beast also reported that UCP’s radio show routinely discusses conspiracy theories and has made false accusations that illegal immigrants are conspiring with ISIS members.