The Times: Essential news from the L.A. Times

A new militia at the U.S.-Mexico border

Episode Summary

Patriots for America calls it monitoring on the U.S.-Mexico border faith-based ministry work. Others call them racists.

Episode Notes

Patriots for America patrols the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, stops migrants, and questions children. They call it faith-based ministry work; civil rights groups say they’re just another racist group of extremists. Today, we follow them in action. Read the full transcript here.

Host: Molly Hennessy-Fiske

More reading:

Texas border militia stops migrants and shoots video of kids. Rights groups say they’re racist

Texas militia sanctioned by sheriff seeks government support to halt flow of migrants

Minutemen Project begins recruiting volunteers to man U.S. border

Episode Transcription

Gustavo: Hey, What’s up, it’s Gustavo Arellano.  Today, we head back to the border..this time in south Texas….my colleague Molly Hennessy-Fiske takes it from here…. 

TAPE: You brought your ID with you? Correct Molly? Okay, cool. Cause you'll need that to get back across the border. So we're going to take you into Mexico and we're gonna interview cartel and coyotes.  I'm totally joking. Ha. 
You know….I'm up for anything.
I felt the oxygen go out of the room. Yeah. Yeah. Oh gosh.

Mux in

MOLLY NARRATION: So this is Samuel Hall. He's the founder of a militia called Patriots for America. I followed Sam in the militia a few weeks ago.

Driving ambi in

MOLLY NARRATION: We were at the US-Mexico border, right next to the Rio Grande river, where the cities of Eagle Pass, Texas, and Piedras Negras, Mexico, meet.

TAPE: Yes. Ma'am. We're right in Eagle pass.

MOLLY NARRATION: Eagle Pass is a rural area, mostly populated by ranchers. It's sandy here along the banks of the river. Sam calls the silt “border glitter” because it gets on everything.

Scattered across the landscape are remnants of the many migrants who pass through after crossing the river illegally.

TAPE: There's a lot of clothing and like the detritus of shoes and.

This is just all, this is Biden Biden outerwear. 
Is this stuff even fresh? That is this. Yeah. It's gotta be. 

MOLLY NARRATION: We saw backpacks, baby shoes, kids clothes, all sorts of possessions that were cast off by thousands of people just along the track at the edge of the river. Migrants cross here from Mexico. Some originally come from Central America, Africa, all different parts of the world. What a lot of them have in common is that many fled violence or poverty in hopes of joining friends or relatives who are already in the U.S. and building better lives.

Mux out

MOLLY NARRATION:  Some get stopped at the border, but Sam says too many are still managing to cross illegally and evade authorities.

TAPE: Well, Molly, you've seen the containers. And you can drive a semi truck through the gaps in those things. Right. And the containers only stretch for how long? Look at the razor wire. Look at, look //  at  fence. It's about eight-foot-tall chain-link fence, you know, anybody with a pair of wire cutters can get right through. And even the locals that live in what they call the demilitarized zone between the fence and the river. Even they think it's a joke and we've interviewed them. It's not stopping anything, nothing.

ambi fade out

theme mux in

MOLLY NARRATION: I'm Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Houston bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times. You're listening to The Times: daily news from the L.A. times. It's Thursday, June 2, 2022. 

Today: How this new militia patrols the border, stops migrants, questions children, and calls it faith-based ministry work while civil rights groups say they're just another racist group of extremists.

mux  out             

MOLLY NARRATION: Patriots for America is a conservative Christian militia. 

ambi in 

Volunteers join it with the goal of trying to stop human trafficking and drug cartels on the border. Militia members patrol the river at various times a day. They scrambled down the banks and follow migrant trails through the 10 foot tall Carrizo cane, which is this really thick growth that’s sort of like bamboo.

Concerned about security, they use law enforcement jargon. When they're communicating, they have these radios they use to communicate with each other and they say things like, “do you copy?” and use code names including “45,” which is a reference to President Trump, who was the 45th president. 

They refer to National Guard as “NG,” Border Patrol as “BP,” and immigrants who crossed the border illegally as “IAs” or “illegal aliens.”

TAPE: Tonight. It's going to be, uh, a typical patrol night, right? you'll be seeing a border patrol out there. You'll be seeing National Guard out there. You'll see how we work with them. it could be a super busy night. It could be a light night, but I think we've only been to Eagle pass one night where we didn't see a crossing. Other than that we're coming across groups anywhere from four or five up to 30 or 40.

MOLLY NARRATION: Patriots for America isn't the only, or the first, volunteer militia to patrol the US-Mexico border. The Minutemen patrolled the border in Arizona and in Texas back in 2005. Sam's group, though, is based in north Texas and volunteers come mostly from different parts of Texas, but also as far away as Illinois, Florida and Michigan, to help with these border patrols.

TAPE: And what do you guys do? Like how would you describe what you're doing on a day-to-day basis?

Oh, man. Well, it depends on the day. Uh, you're going to get a taste of that tonight.

TAPE: We are helping and protecting and securing our Southern border. Working alongside a National Guard and Border Patrol, Department of Public Safety and county to, uh, help combat this crisis that we have on our southern border.

What do you guys usually do when they come if you see them coming across?

Well, we first make sure they're not dangerous, that they don't have any intent to hurt us. some of those, if they're walking right up and surrendering, these are //  99.9% asylum seekers, but what you gotta be kind of wary of is they got the one that did not come from an asylum country. He came from Mexico. Well, if you come from Mexico, you get deported. You don't get asylum. But he came across just to whistle as he's coming across, he's whistling at the National Guard to get their attention. And so that's that 1%, I guess you could say that. We don’t know why he came across to do that. It's our speculation that he was a distraction for coyotes to smuggle drugs at a very similar or other location to tie up National Guard with him. So while they're busy processing him, others can cross with illegal drugs or humans or whatever they're smuggling.

So then you figure out that they're not like dangerous or something. So then what happens?

Well, we care for them. A lot of these people are dehydrated. They haven't had water, they haven't had food, some of them need medical care. so we make sure that we tend to that, uh, while National Guard and Border Patrol process them.

driving navigation ambi to help with transition

Mux in

MOLLY NARRATION: Sam Hall is 40 years old. He's a father of five who attended Bible college and volunteered as a missionary in Africa and the Caribbean. He worked in finance and as a car salesman before founding Patriots for America. He says he did it to help protect conservative protesters in 2015. And the group has patrolled at Black Lives Matter protests, including when north Texas lawmakers considered removing a Confederate statue. 

But Sam insists the militia isn't racist.

mux out

MOLLY NARRATION: So Sam told me the militia doesn't oppose the U.S. government. He says that while he does believe Trump won the 2020 election, he opposed the January 6th insurrection and even deployed with the militia afterward to protect the Texas Capitol. He said he doesn't believe QAnon conspiracy theories, but he does believe a related theory, Pizzagate, which involves child sex trafficking. 

MOLLY NARRATION: Sam says there are two sides to running a militia: admin and operational. So the administrative stuff is the meetings with the officials, the mayors, the sheriffs and other relationship building that he does in south Texas, plus coordinating volunteers, updating social media and keeping the militia he's built connected and informed.

TAPE: And then there's the operational side, which is both day ops and night ops recon ops. and that is specifically engineered to work with Border Patrol to help secure our border.

ambi fade out

MOLLY NARRATION: The Texas state government is working to secure the border here, too.  They call it Operation Lone Star. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has deployed more than 10,000 state law enforcement and National Guard troops to the border. Those shipping containers and the eight foot chain link border fence that Sam was complaining about earlier?  Those are part of Operation Lone Star. But Sam doesn't think the state of Texas or the federal government are doing nearly enough to keep people from crossing the border. 

Ambi in 

MOLLY NARRATION: That's why he says he's out here.

TAPE: And have you seen from your time here, are there times of day that are busier or it just sort of like random? It's random. It seems like mornings. Well, I take that back. It seems like, uh, early mornings they recently caught a group of, I think it was a hundred and twenty, a hundred twenty six. And that was like, well it was still dark outside. So. It was probably 7, 7:30, maybe. It was right before the sun came up. And it was a hundred thirty six? Twenty six. And that's right where we're going.

Mux in

MOLLY NARRATION: Some days the malicious patrolling until really early in the morning, like 3:00 AM. They're busy scanning the opposite bank of the Rio Grande, where they often see smugglers’ flashlights alongside all the glimmers of the fireflies.

TAPE: We're seeing lightning bugs. You can hear night animals. It's really quiet. And occasionally we hear voices. … Did you hear something? 

Mux beat

MOLLY NARRATION: More… after the break.

mux fade out


TAPE: So, we're walking through the brush along the Rio Grande river. There's a group who they believe just crossed from the Mexico side. And you can see members of the militia are ahead of me in the cane, picking their way through. //  It's really thick. // It has the consistency of bamboo. Yeah. You can see clothing and life jackets discarded here along the banks, and there's the river. It’s treacherous to get closer. // Right across there, this is where it starts getting waist deep. You can start crossing, but it's going to be a little bit farther down.

You can smell the river. It's really high.

Are they getting swept down?
Can you guys see people? 
They were just right here. I think they got swept down. 
Are they on a raft? 

Hey! Necesita ayuda? 

MOLLY NARRATION: So one of the nights that I was out with Sam and the militia, we eventually did come across a big group of people who had just crossed the Rio Grande. 

TAPE: Getting close. They're going that way for sure. So they're going down and around. TThey're going that way so the current can take them about right here, Captain. They’re not going to swim straight across. Yep. You're right. // . We just gotta make sure that since they're on our side, if there's kids with them, make sure these kids are safe first. Always make sure the kids are safe first.
You can hear voices over on the other side, on this island.

mux in

MOLLY NARRATION: The migrants had already been stopped by Border Patrol agents, constables and National Guard troops. 

TAPE: 29 people. Wow. Hi. Hello. When did they, uh…when did they come across? Uh, like 40 minutes ago. 40 minutes? Yeah, we heard it on the radio and we just ran down there. Where'd they come through? Just right there? Right on the other side? 

MOLLY NARRATION: The various law enforcement officials who were there that night were not fazed at all to see a half dozen armed figures emerge from the shadows, even though some of them were toting AR 15-style rifles. They even allowed members of the militia to question the migrants.

TAPE: The waters in the back of the truck. Where did you…where did you pick them up? Ask them, where did they find kids if they're not with the parents? Sola…alone, So no mama, no papa? 

MOLLY NARRATION: Sam approached the migrants wearing a tactical vest, body camera, earpiece and handgun strapped to his waist. He noticed a five-year-old girl in a blue Batman sweatshirt and asked if she had a mom or dad with her. The girl just sort of stared at him with her big brown eyes. Sam then sat down beside her so he could find out why or how the girl and her sister joined the group of migrants. A migrant woman holding one of the girls, told him in Spanish that they had joined the group in Piedras Negras, the city on the Mexican bank.

Mux fade out

MOLLY NARRATION: The Nicaraguan woman told me the girl was Honduran and that she and her 12-year-old sister had traveled to the border without adults then joined the rest of the migrants at a smuggler's house before crossing the river. She said the girls were headed to join their grandparents in Los Angeles. I explained that to Sam, and Sam was trying to find out if the girls were being smuggled or trafficked. But he doesn't speak much Spanish, so he didn't understand much of what the woman was saying. After we talked to the girls, Sam and another member of the group who was patrolling with him, who did speak Spanish, took the girls aside and questioned them a little bit.

TAPE: What do you think after something like that happens?  Is it kind of daunting just trying to make a difference here?
Ha. Yeah. To say the least. I'm sorry. I don't mean to laugh, but it's — daunting is kinda an understatement.

MOLLY NARRATION: Later back in the car, I asked Sam about what he took away from his interactions with the girls.

TAPE: In way more ways than this, I mean it's the admins, the law enforcements, the ups, the downs, the partnerships that you make that get broken that you make again, that get broken again. I guess the most daunting for me personally is, uh, is the kids. Yeah.

Mux in

MOLLY NARRATION: Patriots for America first started their border patrols back in October. 

Mux beat

MOLLY NARRATION: Since then, they've been going out, patrolling the border, then posting photos and videos of their interactions with the migrants in hopes of attracting more volunteers to join the militia. Most of the current volunteers are Texans, a mix of former firefighters, oilfield workers and retired businessmen. Sam said he vets prospective members, including criminal background checks, and has rejected volunteers with criminal records. The militia claims about 1,800 supporters nationwide. At least that's how many Facebook followers they had before their page got taken down last summer. But Sam cited security concerns and wouldn't tell me exactly how many members patrol the border monthly. He explained to me how exactly his militia walks the very fine line between legal and illegal behavior when it comes to the actions of these volunteer militias.

TAPE: Hey, uh, Molly. Yep. So we have to word everything as questions, right? You can't order illegals to do anything. You'd have to request like, can you please sit down? Can you please follow me? Uh, can I put your bag over here? Right. Uh, even saying “sientate por favor,” you know, “sit down please” is, is still, maybe considered a command, right?

TAPE: Some of the things we say is, number one, you know, do they have any weapons? You know, does anybody have any pistols or knives or anything like that? Right. And, you know, we want to make sure that nobody has weapons. The next thing we say is, uh, it's uh, does anybody need medical help? You know, a lot of these people are dehydrated coming over, so we give them water and food and a lot of them are in a serious emotional moment. And so we comfort them and, uh, we let them know that we're not there to hurt them, we're there to help. We're a militia, but we're also a ministry. //  I mean, this is a frontline ministry work.

Mux out

MOLLY NARRATION: So if the militia commands migrants to do things instead of asking them, they run the risk of being accused by human rights groups of illegally detaining people or impersonating law enforcement. But even if they stick to asking questions, it can be hard for both the militia members and the migrants to understand one another because of the language barrier.

TAPE: Sientate? Quiere es sientete? What's the ‘will you please sit down’ in Spanish ...  Sientate por favor Quieres sentar? That’s what it is. Okay. okay. Thank you. Ma'am.

But so you were saying you have to phrase things as a question because… because you guys are not law enforcement,

Correct. We cannot illegally detain people. But if we ask them and they comply, okay, now we're on the legal side of things.

MOLLY NARRATION: The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas maintains that Patriots for America is a racist group that has been patrolling without adequate training, detaining, questioning and intimidating migrants who often assume that they’re law enforcement. 

In two recent complaints, the ACLU of Texas called on the justice department to investigate the militia. They haven't responded yet.

TAPE: What do you say to people who say, well, leave it to law enforcement, it should just be law enforcement?

I would say that they don't have a single clue what's going on down here. They don't have enough resources. Their bandwidth is spread super thin. And so there's really not an organization down here at the moment that isn't welcome to us as far as law enforcement. They are glad when we show up. They're happy when we show up. They're glad we're there to help.

TAPE: I think there's some people who would say, well then why do you need to be more? Because wouldn’t the guns kind of scare people… scare the migrants.

You know, we have to be armed because there's wisdom in discernment. And, uh, although there are families and a lot of people that are just seeking a better life coming across that border, there's also a lot of nefarious bad people, uh, cartel, coyotes, drug smugglers, human traffickers coming across. It would be unwise and uh, really irresponsible not to be armed in such a situation as this, where it can get very dangerous very quickly.

Mux in

TAPE: Do you feel like you're able to make a difference? Cause I think a lot of people, like, they wish they could come to the border and actually do something. But then you get here and it's like, there's a lot that's still unknown.

Right. And you’ll never know everything, right?  You just gotta make the difference that you can make what you have. Amen to that.

Mux out

MOLLY NARRATION: The militia initially faced some resistance from state troopers and local lawmakers. But Sam has been busy building relationships and has actually made a lot of inroads with those people.

TAPE: Now we're operating in three different counties: Val Verde, Kinney and Maverick county. And we're looking to expand into Uvalde County. We're meeting with the mayor this week to figure out what that looks like.

MOLLY NARRATION: That’s right…Uvalde County…where the Robb Elementary school shooting just happened. We go to Uvalde to talk to the mayor…after a quick break. 

Mux in

Mux bump to fade out 


TAPE: Thank you for taking our meeting. Uh, I guess purpose today is to kind of brainstorm of what it looks like. We have 1,800 members in Texas. We have a small Missouri chapter and our Chicago chapter and, uh, we're opening up in Arizona, but here's, if that 1,800 members are, these are moms and dads and you know, there's probably 150, you know, operators that can suit up that are high-IQ situation awareness people that know the situation that don't have any ill will to hurt anybody unless they, you know, life's threatened.

MOLLY NARRATION: So Sam has spent a lot of time in meetings like these. It's how he's won support for Patriots for America in three border counties. And Uvalde would be the fourth. 

Mux in

MOLLY NARRATION: One by one, he's been forging unofficial agreements with politicians and law enforcement. Now Sam wants support from the mayor of Uvalde. That's the county seat of Uvalde County, Mayor Don McLaughlin. McLaughlin's office at his pipe shipping business had deer heads mounted on the wall beside a portrait of Republican past presidents, including Trump. The TV was tuned to a Fox News report on Biden's border crisis.

The mayor says he's a nonpartisan official but he leans Republican, is how he put it. And, at first, he was skeptical of the militia. He actually gets a couple of calls a month from militias wanting to come to town and so far has refused them all because of security concerns.

Still, he chewed his tobacco and listened as Sam made his pitch.

TAPE: So we're a faith-based organization, right. Uh, I don't know if you did any research on us. I haven't, I, I haven't been running nonstop. I was in Houston all day yesterday.

MOLLY NARRATION: It didn't take long for the mayor to sound like he was on Sam’s side. He's worried about a wave of migrants he suspects are coming as soon as Title 42 is ended. Title 42 is a pandemic rule that allows for quick expulsion of asylum seekers back to Mexico. And lifting it is something that the Biden administration initially said it would end last month, but they’ve faced legal challenges.  

TAPE: There's anywhere from three to 500,000 uh migrants sitting on the other side of the border, just waiting uh for Title 42 to go away. And when it does, uh, you know, they're going to hit 18 to 20,000 a day at these ports of entry and coming across the border.

Mux out

 Well, first of all, we can't handle 5,000 a day. That's been proven. So it's just, it's, it's frustrating. Um, very frustrating. I think the, yeah, to say the least. Uh, I think the thing that's made us probably the most successful, you know, for, for what we've done in the building, the bridges that we've built with the communities and the sheriffs and judges, et cetera, even DPS now is on our side. How can we help you and your accounting, especially with Title 42 coming down the pipe and that's going to be lifted. We all know what's going to happen. We all know that it's already an invasion. It's going to get even worse. Uh, uh, extensively. I mean, what can we do? Uh, and that's the question. I, and that is a question I've asked myself since the call the other day…

MOLLY NARRATION: The mayor explained that Uvalde is mostly Latino, but he said residents were tired of daily high-speed pursuits of migrants through town — four times just that morning, which triggered school lockdowns. He said migrants were tearing up ranch fences, breaking into homes, and one even confronted a resident with his own gun. The mayor said he and his wife had started arming themselves daily. 


And he says, if the Biden administration lifts title 42, he's decided he'll shut the highway through town and protest, calling it Border Lives Matter.

TAPE and I'm going to call it Border Lives Matter. And I'm going to get three to 4,000 people to park on Highway 90, and yet they're not coming through. And, uh, so, uh, that got me a lot of tension after the governor's office. Now I get a call about once a week from now to make sure everything's okay in Uvalde. And so Title 42 scares me to death. What's going to come through here. I mean, it's, y'all all seen, y'all been dealt. I mean, I've got pictures of ranches that they just destroyed. I've got a little place that I bought between Uvalde and Brackettville, they've cut my fences seven times now. The guy next door to me. I mean, they broke in, they break breaking his ranch nonstop. Yeah. And so I don't, I don't know the solution. I mean, I think. I think everybody's reluctant, but I think we're all going to be forced to make a stand in Texas. I think that's coming. But I mean if that Title 42 goes away and they come, then we're going to need all the help we can get because my law enforcement will be overwhelmed. And so will the, so will the Sheriff's Department. We are going to enforce the law even if the federal government won’t. Listen… I'm right there with you. I'm already in love with this man, I know your budget is maxed out. We have never asked for a dime from any county that we've worked in or, or ranch or anything. Sure. Uh, you know, we operate off of faith and a lot of us, you know, this is a business owner here,. We live off of donations from patriots that want to support us, sure. um, we’ve been down here seven months, um, but we do it off our own dime, out of our own pockets and how much we believe in this mission. I don't know any other militia that, number one, has our, our message being a faith-based organization, but also has our consistency, you know, being here, we didn't just show up, you know, beat our chest and leave. You know, I made a promise to Kinney County courthouse when I made that speech back in October, that we're gonna be here for as long as it takes until God either sends us home, uh, or the mission is complete. I'll just be quite candid, honest with you. I didn't know what I thought. What am I, what am I going to see today? What's you know, but you’re no different than I am. Well…, I can tell you this: , we're Christian-based and we're a bunch of believers. Citizens. Concerned Texans that just want to make a difference. 

Mux out

MOLLY NARRATION: After that meeting with the mayor, having lunch inside a nearby Whataburger, I asked Sam how he thought it went. 

I think it went great. I think that man is, uh, you know, I've never met the you mayor MacLaughlin, um, never spoke a single word to him. Uh, that I think that meeting couldn't have gone any better. I think that, uh, like most elected officials on the border, whether they're Democrat or Republican, they're all fed up. Every single one that I've met are fed up. Even the staunchest of Democrats, they're fed up with what the Biden administration is doing. And, uh, everybody's bracing for Title 42. Nobody quite knows what it's going to look like, but I think everybody agrees it's going to be chaos.

And it was interesting to me that he just came out and told you all that he'd had reservations and was concerned and meeting with you, but he seemed to want to just get, clear the air and get that out of the way. Is that something you hear a lot? 

Anytime you hear the word “militia,” you don’t know what to expect. You know, our predecessors didn't do us any favors, but you know, being a faith based organization, being Christ-centered, you know, being, you know, and by all means, we're not perfect people, you know, we don't claim to be. And we certainly don't try to be. But we try to be the best people we can be. He had had the reservations, but then he followed that up with, but now I know that you're just like me, was his words, you know. 

Mux out

TAPE: Patriots for America is an organization that has pretty openly claimed that there's an invasion taking place at the border.

MOLLY NARRATION: Freddie Cruz is a research analyst who tracks extremists for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

TAPE: That's how they describe migrants who are trying to cross the border. They describe them as invaders. Um, but they also place the blame on federal, sometimes state institutions

MOLLY NARRATION: The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Patriots for America as an anti-government organization.

TAPE: They claimed the Biden administration is funneling in migrants so they can change the demographics of Texas and essentially get more blue voters. And it's all based on wild conspiracy theories that we saw come out of the Trump years, where a lot of these groups believe that the election was rigged. That border election and voter integrity are major issues because the election was stolen, the 2020 general election. Um, and a lot of these groups, especially the militia groups like PFA, they essentially take on vigilante roles where they go down to the border and try and intercept or detain migrants, uh, basically do Border Patrol’s job for Border Patrol.

Mux in

MOLLY NARRATION: Whenever Sam encounters migrant children, he told me he tries to determine whether they've been trafficked or assaulted.

TAPE: We make sure if there's children, you know, that we have discreet conversations to see if anybody in the group is trafficking them, or has hurt them or, you know, sexually assaulted them or anything like that. You know, dealing with, uh, illegal immigrants are dealing with, their situations, some very, very sad and heartbreaking stories. Anybody that says that it just doesn't affect them, uh, just doesn't have a soul because it, it does, it affects you a lot. And these are just babies. These are just babies. They're innocent. They don't deserve this. Nobody does. They are people, you know, they're children of God, God created them. They didn't get the, uh, opportunity to win a geographical lottery when they were born and be born in the United States. Everybody asks, you know, why don't they just go through the legal process? Well, I think people that ask that probably haven't been through that legal process, you know, immigration is a, is a racket. It takes thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars over a long period of time. And you're talking about people that can barely afford to put food on a table for their kids, you know, they're making pennies and they're getting extorted by cartel. They got to pay them just to go to work and travel. Who, who wouldn't, if, if granted asylum, you know, want to come up, even if they weren't granted asylum, I mean, who wouldn't, you know, do everything possible to get to a better life, a better country, and then, and then hopefully try to figure it out when they get here? And so, um, of course, of course we're empathetic and sympathetic, you know, to their, to their plight. You know, people that come across that, that make that trek, you know, seeking asylum, who could blame them? 

TAPE: And so what are you hope you're going to be able to accomplish If Title 42 gets lifted?

Ooh, Molly, I'm just going to have to say that we'll cross that bridge when we get there, because who knows, you know, there's a big unknown right now of what that's going to look like.

Mux out 

TAPE: You know, they're estimating 19,000 crossings a day and you heard what the mayor said. They can't handle 5,000 a day. This could cripple this state. This could cripple the infrastructure. But I think that's exactly what the Biden administration wants. They want to bring Texas to its knees, whichever which way they can.

Mux in 

So…I stayed with the militia for a couple nights while covering the Uvalde shooting last week.  Sam and the militia had returned to patrol the border. They showed me a video of a Colombian migrant they had encountered with his family crossing the river. The video showed the man praying after he reached the U.S. bank, thanking God for getting his family there safely. 

Then…the man collapsed. 

A member of the militia tried to help him. He performed CPR and tried to revive him. But the man died.

Mux bump to out


OUTRO mux in

Gustavo: And that’s it for this episode of THE TIMES, daily news from the LA Times.

Kinsee Morlan was the jefa on this episode and Mark Nieto scored, mixed and mastered it.

Our show is produced by Shannon Lin, Denise Guerra, Kasia Brousalian, David Toledo, Ashlea Brown, and Angel Carreras. Our editorial assistants are Madalyn Amato and Carlos De Loera. Our engineers are Mario Diaz, Mark Nieto and Mike Heflin. Our executive producers are Jazmin Aguilera and Shani Hilton. And our theme music is by Andrew Eapen.

Like what you’re listening to? Then make sure to follow the Times on whatever platform you use. Don’t make us the Pootchie of podcasts!

I'm Gustavo Arellano. We'll be back tomorrow with all the news and desmadre. Gracias.