Patriots of America END

“That makes me so angry,” he said. “It’s stuff you know happens, but it’s different to see it on someone else’s camera.”

Patriots for America has won support from officials in three border counties, forging unofficial agreements. During the militia’s rotation last month, Hall and two other members met with an official in a fourth county, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin. McLaughlin’s office at his pipe-shipping business featured deer heads mounted beside a portrait of Republican past presidents, including Trump. The TV was tuned to a Fox News report on “Biden’s border crisis.”

McLaughlin, a nonpartisan official who “leans Republican,” was skeptical of the militia. He gets a couple calls a month from militias wanting to come to town and so far has refused them all. He chewed tobacco as he listened to Hall make his pitch.

“We’re faith-based, not violent or white supremacist,” he said. “…We do it off our own dime. We do it because we believe in our mission.”

The mayor nodded. Uvalde is mostly Latino, he said, but residents were tired of daily high-speed pursuits of migrants through town, four times just that morning, which trigger school lockdowns. He said migrants were tearing up ranch fences, breaking into homes and one even confronted a resident with his own gun.

McLaughlin and his wife had started arming themselves daily. If the Biden administration lifts Title 42, the mayor said he planned to shut the highway through town in protest, calling it, “Border Lives Matter.” He said he’s been in weekly contact with the governor’s office, and if Title 42 lifted, expected him to declare an invasion, invoking a never-before-used Constitutional provision to expel migrants to Mexico.

“It’s already an invasion,” Hall said. “It’s going to get worse.”

McLaughlin said Hall had convinced him to allow Patriots for America to patrol in Uvalde.

“I was apprehensive at first,” he said. “But now I’m not. You’re no different than I am.”

Before the militia left, Hall and the mayor shook hands, posed for a photo and prayed.

Hennessy-Fiske embedded with Patriots for America militia on the border over the course of three days last month in South Texas.

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