Around 300,000 people made attempts to cross into the US from Mexico last month, according to US officials
A large convoy reportedly led by a retired US Army lieutenant colonel has said it will arrive at the border in Texas next week in a bid to halt illegal crossings from Mexico, as tensions rise between the leadership of the US state and the federal government over illegal immigration.
The group, called ‘Take Our Border Back,’ has amassed more than 2,100 followers on the Telegram social network as of Sunday, where supporters of the movement have shared information for the planned four-day convoy to begin on January 29. The group also intends to hold rallies in Texas, California and Arizona.
“What gets us to the enemy quickly is find, fix and finish” Pete Chambers, reportedly a retired lieutenant colonel of the US Armed Forces, who is organizing the convoy, said to US radio host Alex Jones earlier this week.
“That’s what we did in Syria when we took out ISIS really quick,” Chambers, who claims to have been a ‘Green Beret,’ explained. “Now we don’t have the authorities to finish, so what we can do is fix the location of where the bad guys are and pair up with law enforcement who are constitutionally sound.”
Chambers added: “That’s what Green Berets do. Unconventional warfare is our bread and butter. Now we’re doing domestic internal defense.”
The group, though, has disputed claims – particularly from the website Wired – that many, or most, of those participating in the convoy will be carrying firearms.
“We are not making a call to arms,” a message from the group said on Telegram. “A call to engage with anyone crossing the border. We are here to peacefully protest under our First Amendment right and pray.” It added that the convoy’s motivation is to stop illegal immigration into the United States and to close the border.
The convoy is due to arrive at the US border with Mexico at a time of increased tensions between state officials in Texas and the federal government. On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Biden administration, which had requested that Border Patrol officials remove razor wire installed along stretches of the border at the direction of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Abbott subsequently announced his intention to defy the government – and the top court in the United States – by ordering that even more razor wire be erected on border sites to deter illegal migration.
The governor had stated earlier this week that it is the state’s right to “defend and protect” its residents from an “invasion” of migrants, and that doing so “supersedes any federal statutes.”
Migration into the US is set to be a key issue ahead of this year’s presidential election. US officials said that about 300,000 people made attempts to cross the border in December alone.