PayPal, GoFundMe suspend accounts of militia detaining immigrants

Posted Apr 20, 2019 by Karen Graham
An armed militia group operating on the U.S. southern border unlawfully detained nearly 300 people seeking asylum in the U.S. near Sunland Park, New Mexico, raising the ire of law enforcement after videos were posted on social media.
US Customs and Border Protection agents allow access for a group of 33 migrants who want to request ...
US Customs and Border Protection agents allow access for a group of 33 migrants who want to request political asylum in the United States, at the Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across from El Paso, Texas
The group, calling itself the United Constitutional Patriots posted videos online showing migrants being held by armed group members. New Mexico's attorney general Hector Balderas told CNN in a statement: "These individuals should not attempt to exercise authority reserved for law enforcement."
A spokesman for New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said state and local authorities are looking into the matter. "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," said Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for the governor, adding that menacing or threatening migrant families is "completely unacceptable."
One video being shown on CNN on Saturday portrayed a militia member and his group stopping a group of migrants, telling them they were border patrol agents. The militia group is often in full military fatigues, with handguns strapped to their sides, wearing gloves and black face masks.
A group of about 30 Brazilian migrants  who had just crossed the border  sit on the ground near US B...
A group of about 30 Brazilian migrants, who had just crossed the border, sit on the ground near US Border Patrol agents in Sunland Park, New Mexico
Paul Ratje, AFP/File
When asked about the militia group and what it has been doing, a US Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to comment on the group itself or the social media posts, but said the agency "does not endorse or condone private groups or organizations taking enforcement measures into their own hands."
The actions of the self-professed civilian militia drew swift condemnation from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico. "We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum," the ACLU said in a letter to state authorities denouncing the actions and asking the government to step in. "We urge you to immediately investigate this atrocious and unlawful conduct."
PayPal and GoFundMe suspend accounts
PayPal and GoFundMe both announced of Friday they will no longer allow an armed militia group that was seen on social media video confronting migrants at the border to raise funds on their platforms, according to The Hill.
A PayPal spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in a statement: "The account associated with United Constitutional Patriots has been closed due to a violation of our Acceptable Use Policy, We do not allow PayPal services to be used to promote hate, violence, or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory."
PayPal headquaters outside Omaha  NE in the US.
PayPal headquaters outside Omaha, NE in the US.
Michael Sauers (CC BY 2.0)
Mark Cheney, the leader of the militia confirmed to BuzzFeed that GoFundMe had also frozen the group's accounts. "They killed us," Cheney told the outlet. "I have to find some other way for people to donate."
The Daily Dot is reporting the United Constitutional Patriots has been operating along the U.S. border since November 2018. They claim to have detained 3,000 migrants without legal authority. The members apparently enjoy posting videos on social media sites where they attract comments from xenophobic and white supremacists.
The Defense Department knew in November 2018 that almost 200 armed militia groups are already operating along the southern border, in the guise of supporting U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
Newsweek obtained the sensitive documents from two different Defense Department sources who are familiar with the U.S. Northern Command's mission on the southern U.S. border. “Estimated 200 unregulated armed militia members currently operating along the southwest border. Reported incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments. They operate under the guise of citizen patrols supporting CBP [Customs and Border Protection] primarily between POEs [Points of Entry],” according to the documents.