Authorities keep distance, yet work with armed border group

SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico (AP) — Authorities have distanced themselves from an armed civilian group that detains asylum-seeking families at the U.S.-Mexico border. But the United Constitutional Patriots have never been shy about saying they work with Border Patrol agents.

After its activities drew widespread criticism, the group was thrown out of its camp this week for trespassing in Sunland Park, New Mexico, a suburb of El Paso, Texas.

Frequent social media posts show masked men in combat fatigues chasing migrants and ordering them to stay put until border agents arrive.

Jim Benvie is a spokesman for the group. In Facebook video, he has encouraged others to join and says the effort works with the Border Patrol.

Customs and Border Protection says it does not condone private organizations that take law enforcement into their own hands.

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