In trucks, vans and mobile homes, hundreds of people began to arrive in the southern tip of the United States to demonstrate this Saturday against the “invasion” of immigration that they say is affecting the country and to “take back” the border.
“Join God’s fight” was written on the body of one of the vehicles that arrived at a ranch in Quemado, a town in Texas with 162 inhabitants, whose houses are scattered in the middle of the valley where the Rio Bravo or Grande is running. natural border between the United States and Mexico.
Thousands of migrants cross the river every month, making long journeys from Central and South America in search of better living conditions in the United States, a key issue in November’s presidential election debate. .
And it was on the banks of that river that the activists who called themselves “We the People” decided to meet (“We the People”, as the preamble of the US Constitution begins).
Days before, one of the organizers of the event declared that the participants were “God’s Army.”
Under the motto “Take back our border,” these activists started convoys last week from different parts of the country to the cities of the southern border to camp there this weekend.
“The border migration is not controlled. We are invaded and we have to control what is happening,” said Robyn Forzano, 43, who controls access to the ranch in Texas, told AFP.
Vans arrived with flags of support for former president Donald Trump, the Republican favorite for the presidential election in November, and with slogans rejecting Democratic incumbent Joe Biden, who will try for a new term.
“Heaven has walls, hell has open borders,” read one activist’s sign.
“When you go to Mexico, there are strange people, but it seems like when they cross over to this side, … they steal,” said Marty Bird, 73, a Trump supporter, in Eagle Pass .
This city about 30 kilometers from Quemado is the center of conflict between Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the Biden administration.
The federal government sued Abbott for taking military control of Shelby Park, which has a river access ramp, and for placing barbed wire along the riverbank.
In mid-January, the Biden government reported that Texan soldiers prevented border police, under federal jurisdiction, from accessing the park to rescue three drowning migrants. Texas rejected the accusation.
Biden took the case to the Supreme Court, which allowed border police to cut down the barbed wire fence. But the governor objected and put up more fences
With a kayak rental business on that river, Jessie Fuentes is directly affected by the situation: “That river is now a disaster zone (…) The park has become a military base.”
“There are certain groups that claim to be an army of God, that come to our community to spread hatred (…) I’m worried because that’s not who we are,” he added.