This is only my opinion and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.
PayPal and GoFundMe have banned a far-right group, known as the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) because they were posing as law enforcement in order to round up migrant families at gunpoint. Of course, this was taking place at the U.S. border with Mexico, and then the UCP was handing these folks over to Border Patrol officers. The UCP has been characterized by the ACLU as an “armed fascist militia organization”. They have also called them “racist and armed vigilantes” in a letter to New Mexico government officials, where they have urged them to crack down on the group.
The group has filmed videos of this group, in which they appear to be detaining hundreds of migrants before calling Border Patrol to hand them over. The video is available on social media, but they insist that the detentions are equivalent to a citizens’ arrest, even though, many of the people being detained appear to be families that are legally allowed to request asylum in the United States. Of course, crossing the border illegally into the United States is only a misdemeanor, which suggests that the UCP lacks the authority under federal or state law to detain anyone they see doing it in the first place.
It is rumored that this group feeds into conspiracy theories like QAnon and they claim to be in direct contact with Donald Trump. The UCP says that they work with Border Patrol, although the agency is now distancing itself from that group. What might be the scariest part about this whole thing is that members are reportedly identifying themselves as law enforcement officials while wearing unofficial badges. This past weekend, the FBI and Sunland Park Police arrested 69 year old, UCP leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins on charges related to possession of a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. This development could lead to a larger investigation.
How does this relate to PayPal and GoFundMe? The UCP solicited thousands of dollars through those two apps in order to cover the costs of food, gasoline, propane and a portable toilet at a camp in Sunland, New Mexico. There are also reports that the group has been purchasing firearms, but that is something that they deny.
“The account associated with United Constitutional Patriots has been closed due to a violation of our Acceptable Use Policy. We do not allow PayPal services to be used to promote hate, violence, or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory.”PayPal Spokesperson
The catch, however, is that PayPal has a policy that allows people to fundraise for legal defense purposes. Which means, they could still be bringing in money for their cause, under the guise that this is going towards Hopkins legal defense. That said, PayPal also says that if they find out that the funds are being used for anything other than a legal defense, they will close the account immediately. How they will figure that out is the million dollar question. The UCP is still going strong on various social media channels, but given the work that they’re doing, it makes you wonder how long before those are removed as well?