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FBI arrests member of rightwing militia accused of detaining migrants

FBI arrests member of rightwing militia accused of detaining migrantsLarry Mitchell Hopkins accused of illegal weapons possession after videos apparently showed men stopping migrants in New MexicoMen including Jim Benvie, a spokesman for the militia calling itself the United Constitutional Patriots, share cigarettes while patrolling the US-Mexico border in Sunland Park, New Mexico last month. Photograph: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty ImagesA member of an armed rightwing militia group accused of illegally detaining migrants at the US-Mexico border has been arrested, officials said on Saturday.The FBI arrested Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, for alleged unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition , days after his group posted videos that appeared to show armed men stopping migrants at the border in New Mexico, ordering them to sit on the ground and coordinating with US border patrol agents to have them taken into custody.“Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, not armed vigilantes,” the New Mexico attorney general, Hector Balderas, said in a statement.On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for an investigation into the pro-Trump, anti-immigrant men who have been patrolling the border and calling themselves the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP).The ACLU in New Mexico described the group as “an armed fascist militia organization” made up of “vigilantes”, saying they were working to “kidnap and detain people seeking asylum” and had directly made illegal arrests and held migrants at gunpoint.Hopkins’ role in the group was unclear, and it was also not clear if he was facing any charges directly related to the videos of the men stopping migrants. The New Mexico attorney general’s office described Hopkins as a “dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families” and labeled him an “armed individual detaining migrants at the border”.An FBI statement on the arrest did not mention the militia group or the detention of migrants, but noted that Hopkins has also gone by the name Johnny Horton Jr and that he was due to appear in court on Monday.In one video posted last Monday night by Jim Benvie, a member of the armed group, it appeared the men were ordering around dozens of migrants, including many children, and telling them to sit. Benvie narrated: “There’s no border patrol here. This is us.”The men appeared to call border patrol agents, who later were seen. The ACLU, in a letter to state officials, said the group had targeted nearly 300 migrants in Sunland Park, New Mexico, which is along the Mexico border and adjacent to El Paso, Texas.The militia members advocated for Trump’s proposed border wall on the video streams and echoed the president’s anti-migrant rhetoric, warning of an “invasion”.There have also been concerns that the men, who wear military-style clothes, could be misrepresenting themselves as border patrol agents. In another video, Benvie filmed himself stopping a group of four adults and three children and said “border patrol” as he approached, before calling for another member of his group to join him. In an apparent call to border patrol, one man said: “Hello, I’ve got seven over here.”The UCP has previously presented itself as a group of “volunteers” aiding border patrol and supporting Trump. In recent years, there have been numerous reports of an increase in paramilitary groups and xenophobic activists surveilling the border, working with US agents and targeting undocumented people.The UCP has not responded to the Guardian’s requests for comment.On Thursday, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said border patrol “welcomes assistance from the community” but “does not endorse private groups or organizations taking enforcement matters into their own hands”.The Daily Beast reported that Hopkins has a history of pushing far-right conspiracies and has a conviction for impersonating an officer and felony firearm possession. He could not be reached on Saturday and it was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.Stephanie Corte, an immigrant rights campaign strategist with the ACLU in New Mexico, said her group was still trying to make contact with the detained migrants and was uncertain if any had been released.“Our next focus is to try to get their story and making sure they feel safe to tell their story of being held at gunpoint,” she told the Guardian, adding that the ACLU would explore legal options.She said she hoped authorities would work to make sure this does not happen again.“We absolutely believe that this was completely unlawful,” she said. “We’re hoping those involved will be brought to justice.”



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MS-13 gang member detained at border with 'fake family unit' sent texts telling others to do the same, CBP says

MS-13 gang member detained at border with 'fake family unit' sent texts telling others to do the same, CBP saysIn an exclusive interview, the Rio Grande Border Patrol chief tells Fox News that migrants recognize there are gaps in U.S. immigration policies.



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With Netanyahu's help, 'racist' party member could become MP

With Netanyahu's help, 'racist' party member could become MPThe bespectacled man was given a hero’s welcome when he arrived for the party on the recent Jewish holiday of Purim, with teenagers singing and applauding around him. Itamar Ben-Gvir was on the streets of Hebron, a flashpoint city in the occupied West Bank, among Israeli settlers revelling while disguised and masked according to Jewish tradition. The support for him there was a sign of why he may soon become a member of Israel’s parliament as part of an extreme-right party many view as racist — helped along by a deal brokered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.



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Texas city council member calls Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a ‘bimbo’ with ‘nothing between your ears’

Texas city council member calls Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a ‘bimbo’ with ‘nothing between your ears’A city council member from Texas has been forced to apologise after calling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “bimbo” in a now-deleted tweet directed at the congresswoman. Richardson City Councilman Scott Dunn replied to Ms Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter with the offending remarks, according to screenshots of the tweet that circulated online last week. “The embarrassment is to have bimbos like you with nothing between your ear,” Mr Dunn wrote.



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MS-13 Gang Member Charged With Murder in Connection to Viral Subway Platform Shooting

MS-13 Gang Member Charged With Murder in Connection to Viral Subway Platform ShootingPolice arrested 26-year-old Ramiro Gutierrez, a known MS-13 gang member, for the fatal shooting



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U.S. Coast Guard searches for missing cruise crew member

U.S. Coast Guard searches for missing cruise crew memberExactly a month ago, another Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard in the Atlantic, off Puerto Rico, and was never found. A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd was not available for comment early Friday. Neither was a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard 7th District, which patrols the Florida coast.



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Norwegian Cruise Line denies claim crew member used passenger's cabin for sex

Norwegian Cruise Line denies claim crew member used passenger's cabin for sexNorwegian Cruise Line on Tuesday denied that a crew member used a British couple's cabin for sex during a recent voyage.



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He grew up in West Africa. He never heard of MS-13. Then he fled to the U.S. — and ICE accused him of being a gang member

He grew up in West Africa. He never heard of MS-13. Then he fled to the U.S. — and ICE accused him of being a gang memberYoumbi Roberto Nfor flew from Africa to Ecuador, then embarked on a grueling and dangerous journey to the United States, where he planned to request asylum.



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Julian Castro, a Texas Democrat and former Obama cabinet member, announces 2020 bid for president

Julian Castro, a Texas Democrat and former Obama cabinet member, announces 2020 bid for presidentJulian Castro, a former Obama cabinet member and San Antonio mayor, officially threw his hat in the ring on Saturday and announced he would run for president.



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Member of 'Texas 7' gang executed for officer's killing

Member of 'Texas 7' gang executed for officer's killingHUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A member of the notorious "Texas 7" gang of escaped prisoners was executed Tuesday evening for the fatal shooting of a suburban Dallas police officer during a Christmas Eve robbery nearly 18 years ago.



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