Armed vigilantes intimidated a group of migrants and logged their biographic information Friday after the group had crossed the Arizona-Mexico border near Sasabe.
The far-right vigilantes earlier in the day had followed and harassed a group of migrant advocates who were providing humanitarian aid near the border wall.
The incident came the day after Title 42 was lifted when many Arizona officials had feared a large influx of migrants would materialize at the country’s southern border. Advocates had noted an increased presence of vigilantes in the area in the run-up to Title 42’s expiration.
In reality, there was no mass influx or chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border when the restriction expired late Thursday.
“We were looking for people to help but the only thing we found was the vigilantes again,” said Dora Rodriguez, director of the Tucson-based Salvavision, which provides aid to migrants in Sasabe, Sonora.
In 1980, Rodriguez was one of the 13 Salvadorans who survived when another 13 people in the group died after being abandoned by their guide and left to wander near Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.
Rodriguez was driving the truckful of volunteers with the Tucson and Green Valley-Sahuarita Samaritans along the border wall in order to identify asylum seekers in need of help. While the volunteers anticipated large groups, they only encountered their regular five to 10 asylum seekers.
What to expect: Here’s what to expect at the Arizona-Mexico border this week now that Title 42 is gone
A white pickup truck carrying about four vigilantes eventually confronted the volunteers, accusing them of working for the cartels and being traffickers. The vigilantes asked if the volunteers had voted for President Joe Biden and accused Biden of being a child trafficker.
After the confrontation, the vigilantes began to tail the volunteers and followed them for roughly 10 miles along the dirt road running parallel to the 30-foot wall, Rodriguez said. Rodriguez said she became “very scared” as she realized the group of older volunteers could not defend themselves against the armed vigilantes.
“I became very nervous but I stayed calm,” Rodriguez said. “We as humanitarian volunteers bring water, we don’t bring weapons.”
Ethan Schmidt-Crockett, a well-known anti-mask and anti-LGBTQ activist who was one of the vigilantes, suggested that Border Patrol agents who had stopped the group were under “cartel control” in a video he took. In the video, Schmidt-Crockett appeared shirtless with four Border Patrol trucks and various agents in the background.
Schmidt-Crockett has had numerous run-ins with the law in the past.
Source: Diario de Sonora