No matter how you approach the matter, almost all rational Americans can agree that we need border security. In the same way that most of us don’t invite complete strangers into our home, we can’t invite migrant hoards. But recently, volunteer militia groups have stepped into this immigration debate in the most provocative of manners.

It’s no surprise that the U.S. Border Patrol is overwhelmed. Although we have thousands of miles of fencing, several areas are incredibly exposed. Moreover, even in well-fenced segments, aggressively resourceful migrants find ways to break through. Sure, some lawbreakers are caught, but many more slip through the cracks.

So while no officials will admit it, the Border Patrol and other federal agencies need help. However, militia groups have taken it upon themselves to provide that help without any official request to do so. Now, these volunteer organizations on the fringes have always existed and served their various communities. But to detain immigrants themselves? That’s an unprecedented move.

It’s also causing legal headaches. Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for the arrest of certain members of militia groups. Their crime? Detaining migrants without having the proper authority to do so, and posing as official Border Patrol agents.

Like any high-profile case, these incidents of illegal detainments lever significant nuanced points.


Militia Groups Balance Necessity with Protocol

On one hand, I believe many Americans sympathize with the militia groups and their stated purpose. Historically, our country has welcomed immigrants from around the world, and that will likely never end. However, from a purely practical perspective, we can’t just accept anyone who wants to come in.

Again, we’re just talking simple numbers. Many, if not most immigrants today hail from underprivileged nations. As a result, these folks – through no fault of their own – lack basic education and work skills. Furthermore, as we dive deeper into the automation era, uneducated migrants would have no place in a highly-modernized economy.

Thus, an open-border policy would merely flood our country with cheap, but unwanted, unusable labor. It’s also clear that the Border Patrol secretly appreciate the militia’s assistance. Without them, more illegal aliens would slip past established security measures.

However, we can’t just allow vigilantism to rule the day. While militia groups may have the best intentions, they don’t have the best training. Nor do they have the mandate and authority to perform tasks such as detaining lawbreakers.

We require certification for people to fix a plumbing issue. It only makes sense that we have at least the same level of scrutiny for border control and safety.

The bottom line, though, is that these volunteer groups are doing what is necessary to protect our country. While we should avoid endorsing vigilantism, this nation was originally founded on the principles of volunteerism. Practical control mechanisms can turn militia groups into viable platforms for security.