Members of a militia are planning to block ports of entry along the Rio Grande Valley to protest illegal immigration, according to a local news report.
According to a KRGX report Thursday, local officials say militia members are planning to protest by blocking traffic at the international ports on September 20.
Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villarreal told the station that law enforcement is preparing for the disruption but is unsure what to expect.
“What can we expect? I don’t know. The unknown becomes an issue that we really got to prepare for,” he said, explaining that local law and federal enforcement are preparing to deal with the matter when it happens.
Villarreal said that a concern he has is safety.
“If they’re here to block traffic, to be a hindrance between traffic and the port of entry, that causes a problem. It’s a huge safety issue,” he told KRGX, going on to add that is could also serve to disrupt the area economy.
“A port of entry is not just a port of entry for people; it’s also a port of entry for commerce. There are hundreds of millions of dollars that transact at the ports of entry,” he added. “If their intent is to cause a disruption at a port of entry, it’s not only a matter of people, it’s a matter of commerce as well.”
Villarreal continued to KRGX that the ability for the militias to show their guns makes him “nervous.”
“We’ve never dealt with militia here in Starr County,” KRGX quoted Villarreal. “We don’t know what their temperament is or their personality might be. I can tell you that knowing that they might be here … helps us prepare for what ever may come,” he said.
According to the report, Customs and Border Protection officials meet with international bridge authorities in Starr County Thursday to consider a response to the threat.
The Rio Grande Valley has been ground zero for much of the recent surge in illegal immigration into the U.S. — which has seen tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and family units stream across the southern border, overwhelming government resources and resulting in a humanitarian crisis.