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Immigration Law

ICAP Letter: Texas Law Prohibits Private Militia Immigration Patrols

ICAP, May 18, 2022

"Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP)['s] mission is to defend American constitutional rights and values in and out of court. Over the past several years, as a result of successful litigation ICAP brought against private paramilitary organizations that participated in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, we have developed an expertise in legal issues related to private paramilitary activity, as well as the regulation of public protests and demonstrations in a manner that protects public safety while respecting individuals’ constitutional rights. We have direct experience dealing with private paramilitary activity in the Southwest, and are currently partnering with the District Attorney for Bernalillo County, New Mexico, in an enforcement action against a local private militia that usurped law-enforcement authority during a racial justice demonstration last summer. I am writing in response to Kinney County’s reported tolerance of and cooperation with groups of armed private paramilitary organizations such as the Patriots for America and Women Fighting for America in connection with Operation Lone Star, Texas’s initiative to use the state law enforcement apparatus to police immigration.1 Given the continuing reports of private militia activity in your area, we wanted to call your attention to several provisions of Texas law that make clear that these groups have no authority to engage in paramilitary activities at the border or anywhere else in Texas. ... [M]embers of Patriots for America and Women Fighting for America are likely acting in violation of Texas laws through their continued patrolling of the border."