United Constitutional Patriots Leader Arrested at Border

United Constitutional Patriots Leader Arrested at Border

United Constitutional Patriots Leader Arrested at Border

Until Saturday, I had never heard of the United Constitutional Patriots, probably because I don’t live near the southern border. But they’re a group that has just made national news.

The UCP is a small group from New Mexico whose sole goal is to protect the US-Mexico border. Their modus operandi is simple: patrol the border, find illegals, and hold them until the Border Patrol shows up. Most recently they detained over 300 people in the Sunland Park, NM, area.

Here’s a feature story about the United Constitutional Patriots which a local television station broadcast earlier in the month. What’s particularly shocking is how open the border is in parts of the Sunland Park region, which lies between Texas and Mexico.

But, of course, as with all things dealing with illegal immigration, they’ve come under fire from people who never met an illegal immigrant they wouldn’t admit into the US. So on Saturday, the FBI arrested UCP leader Larry Hopkins, aka “Johnny Horton,” a 69-year-old who named himself after a long-deceased country singer. In a statement, the FBI claimed they were arresting him for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammo. Hopkins had been arrested in Oregon in 2006 for impersonating a police officer and illegally possessing firearms.

united constitutional patriots

The real Johnny Horton with Elvis. Credit: Ninian Reid @ flickr. CC by 2.0.

Hopkins is indeed a rather, shall we say, “dubious” character. He claims to be getting tips “from the very top of the government,” although he doesn’t provide proof. Hopkins also says he and President Trump are buds:

“When I was doing music, I met Trump and his first wife when he had the casino in Las Vegas, and I played there numerous times. OK? That’s how I knew him. And Trump and I have kept in touch ever since.”

Okay then.

There’s also Hopkins’s efforts to fundraise for the United Constitutional Patriots — some $5000 in recent months. And he makes his donation pleas USING ALL CAPS in run-on sentences on a Facebook page:

“PLEASE DONATE WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW THAT OUR GOVERNOR SAID WE HAVE NO SAY IN NEW MEXICO AS CITIZENS,NOW SHE HAS FORCED THE HANDS OF NEW MEXICO CITIZENS TO DEFEND OUR RIGHTS AS CITIZENS, WE ARE THE ONLY DEFENCE AND OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT TO PROTECT YOU TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY.”

But then there are those people to whom I previously referred: those who pretend they “want to protect the border,” but do everything they can to thwart efforts to do so.

Like the country of Mexico. Its Foreign Relations Ministry said it had “deep concerns” about “militia groups” at the border:

“These types of practices can drive human rights abuses of people who migrate or request asylum or refuge in the United States.” 

Um, then maybe Mexico could do more to keep these “migrants” away from the border?

The office of NM Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham released this statement:

“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. That migrant families might be menaced or threatened in any way, shape or form is completely unacceptable.”

And of course the ACLU went into hysterics, calling the United Constitutional Patriots a “fascist militia organization.” They also called the UCP “kidnappers,” and wrote to Gov. Grisham and NM Attorney General Hector Balderas:

“We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum.”

“We urge you to immediately investigate this atrocious and unlawful conduct.” 

That’s over the top. But even the Border Patrol itself says “thanks, but no thanks”:

However, Jim Benvie, a spokesman for the UCP, maintains:

“We get along great with Border Patrol. They get along with us. We work together, and yadda, yadda, yadda.”

The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle.

I highly doubt that the United Constitutional Patriots are “fascists” or “kidnappers.” I think they truly believe they’re protecting the border. However, Larry Hopkins/Johnny Horton seems to be a sketchy character whom I wouldn’t trust to protect my property. Nor would I send any donations his way.

However, what kind of reaction do you expect from people in the Southwest who feel threatened by illegal immigrants? American citizens living near the US-Mexico border have witnessed a crisis beyond their wildest nightmares. Just last month nearly 93000 illegal immigrants flooded the border, and almost 98% remain in the US. They see drug traffickers and human smuggling. Yet Congress will not fix the problem. 

The United Constitutional Patriots may not be the ragtag border patrol you want. But it’s the border patrol you get when this kind of crisis reaches a tipping point.

 

Featured image: cropped photo of border wall at Sunland Park, NM; Anne Adrian @ flickr. CC by 2.0.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

6 Comments
  • CaptDMO says:

    ““They have absolutely not been authorized by our office or any other.”
    Yeah, here’s the thing, they don’t HAVE to be.

  • Kathy says:

    CBP has to cover their rear for legal challenges, so they can’t support the UCP. There is also the problems related to having armed folks that aren’t part of their communication network that might get into or cause trouble. I get that. I think other than the sketchy character, the CBP could figure out ways to work with these and similar volunteer folks.

    I grew up on the TX/Mex border and left the immediate area. I still have family there. It is not the same friendly border that it once was and too many people try to claim it still is.

  • GWB says:

    They have absolutely not been authorized by our office or any other.
    They don’t HAVE to be authorized, sweet cheeks! Your power derives from theirs, not the other way around!

    That migrant families might be menaced or threatened in any way
    You mean like we ‘menace’ burglars sneaking into our home at night?

    They also called the UCP “kidnappers,”
    Sorry, but that requires an “illegal.” Since these folks were breaking the law, it – by definition – can NOT be an illegal detention.

    “We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum.”
    It’s not for *YOU* to “allow. I’ll repeat what I said to the Gov:
    The governemnt’s power derives from theirs, not the other way around!

    #CBP does not endorse or condone private groups or organizations that take enforcement matters into their own hands.
    EVERY law enforcement organization says this.
    The problem is – again – that they’re WRONG.

    I quote:

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

    Anyone tell me where that’s from? Anyone? Bueller?

    The United Constitutional Patriots may not be the ragtag border patrol you want.
    These ARE the border patrol I want – since the gov’t seems to have shirked its duty to its citizens.
    I’m glad to see citizens taking back their authority from those who would abuse it – even if they aren’t the most pure and scandal-free of us. (Can you say … any major politician in the last 30 years? How much worse is this guy than 0bama or Holder or Reno or Reid or Schumer or Ryan or Graham or………)

    • GWB says:

      Oops. there should be a closing “>” after the /strong in that third bit. Can the ladies fix that?

    • Scott says:

      “I quote:

      That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

      Anyone tell me where that’s from? Anyone? Bueller?”

      Most recently, from the Declaration of Independence… derived from the theories of Locke and Hobbes, if I’m not mistaken..

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