Hundreds of asylum seekers who were trying to cross the border illegally Tuesday night surrendered to an an independent group of armed New Mexico citizens.
DailyMail.com reported an estimated 300 men, women and children gave themselves up to the ‘United Constitutional Patriots.”
The group, which says it’s comprised of veterans and former police officers, turned over custody of the asylum seekers to U.S. Border Patrol agents.
One of the members of the group, Jim Benvie, streamed live on Facebook the handover.
Benvie had been camping out on the New Mexico-Chihuahua border for two months, DailyMail.com reported.
“I literally walked out and I looked, and all I saw was hundreds of people coming at us,” said Benvie.
He said that once the migrants came, “then we did what we do, and that’s to help Border Patrol get them to the processing van. So, everybody is safe.”
Asylum seekers are required to apply for asylum at ports of entry.
Benvie described his group to DailyMail.com
“We’re just Americans. We’re veterans, we’re ex-law enforcement, we’re people that care about our national security,” he said.
“We’re people that care about our strained Border Patrol.”
DailyMail.com noted that the U.S. Border Patrol said it does not condone the group’s actions.
On Facebook, United Constitutional Patriots describes itself as Americans “that believe in the constitution and the rights of every American that will stand up for there rights in unity and help keep America safe.”
Last month, Kevin McAleenan, who is now the Department of Homeland Security’s acting secretary, declared the U.S. immigration system hit its “breaking point.”
He said “CBP is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our southwest border — and nowhere has that crisis manifested more acutely than here in El Paso.”
McAleenan said that in the previous two mornings, border officers took more than 12,000 migrants into custody along the border.
“A high number is 4,000 — 6,000 is crisis level,” he said. “Twelve thousand is unprecedented. On Monday, we saw the highest total of apprehensions and encounters in years, with over 4,000 in a single day.”
He said that at the present rate, the Border Patrol would count more than 100,000 apprehensions and encounters with migrants in March, the highest monthly total in more than a decade.
He urged Congress to craft solutions to expedite political asylum claims by migrants from Central American nations.
“The surge numbers are just overwhelming the entire system,” McAleenan said.
She said 98 percent of illegal aliens caught at the border in 2017 remain in the U.S. today.