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The Texas sheriff who works with armed civilians to arrest immigrants at the border

Brad Coe, mayor of Kenny County in Texas, on the border with Mexico, cooperate For several months with groups of armed civilians to patrol the border and facilitate the arrest of migrants crossing it illegally. Coe had initiated this policy after the start of the so-called “Operation Lone Star”, in which Texas Governor, Republican Greg Abbott, a supporter of Donald Trump, sent armed forces into the region to authorize them to arrest immigrants. on the border. Today, civilian groups independently patrol the border, armed with rifles and equipped with flak jackets and drones, and primarily doing police work.

For months, Coe maintained regular contacts with these groups, supporting them in their operations in a more or less visible way and coordinating with them, not only to intensify border control and strengthen the process decided by Abbott, but also to discourage the arrival of immigrants: “If they knew that they would be arrested – He said Ko – they will go somewhere else ».

According to the reconstruction The Wall Street JournalKoe will meet regularly in his office with some members of armed groups, who will brief him on their activities. Also among them was a man recently arrested for participating in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Samuel Hall and Christy Hutcherson, respectively, at the head of the two groups called the Patriots for America Militia and Women Fighting for America, said they reported the presence of immigrants to Coe several times.

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The policies adopted by Abbott and Coe have been heavily criticized, because in theory immigration in the United States is a federal issue: according to various activist organizations, these policies are therefore considered illegal. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a well-known advocacy organization for individual rights and liberties, along with nine other associations filed a complaint with the US Department of Justice, calling for investigations into immigrant detentions and into partnerships between Sheriff and civic groups.

It is not clear to what extent this cooperation is supported by other state authorities. Civic groups heard of The Wall Street Journal Conflicting positions on the part of the county authorities tell about the legality of their work. Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said his office does not support them, but added that he has no authority over the mayor’s decisions.

Harold Manning

"Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover."

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