Volunteer group heads to U.S./Mexico border to patrol

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A group of volunteers is heading back to the border in an effort to help secure our nation.

They’re part of the Colorado Rapid Response Team, a group within the III% United Patriots, a national organization that believes in strict adherence to fundamental rights.

The Colorado Rapid Response Team does a variety of things including search and rescue, charity drives for veterans, even free outdoor survival classes for the public.

One of their other duties is a little unusual – the group also patrols the border for free.

I sat down with Jerry Karl, also known as “Ghost,” one of the leaders of this group, to find out why they do it.

Since 2012, these individuals have volunteered their time twice a year to spend days patrolling the border between U.S. and Mexico.

“It just ripped my heart out to listen to the border patrol agents,” said Karl.

This upcoming trip will be his ninth.

“Have you seen a difference every time you go?” I asked.

“It’s been about the same I would say until our last trip,” said Karl. “The last time we went down, talking more so with the landowners they’re the ones that told me it’s getting worse.”

“Is the thought that everyone is making a run for it because of the news administration?” I asked.

“Now so, yes,” said Karl.

Karl said he makes these trips because something has to be done.

“It has to be done. It’s not a topic that we can sit here and discuss if it needs to be done, it has to be done,” said Karl. “We’re a sovereign country. How can you be a sovereign country without secure borders?”

Karl believes building a wall would make a difference but said he knows it wouldn’t solve all the problems.

“There’s no way I would sit here and say it’s going to stop 100 percent of the bad guys, there’s no way,” said Karl. “You’d be a fool to say that but 80 percent I’ll take that, that’s a heck of a start and then we’ll work off that.”

Karl said they don’t consider themselves a militia and they have no problem with people coming to America, they just want them to do it legally.

“Do a lot of people call you a racist, or have you ever been accused of being a racist?” I asked.

“No, I’m a pretty big guy, I don’t really have too many people calling me a racist,” laughed Karl. “But just like I told you earlier. I don’t care what color you are, I don’t care what country you come from other than the fact that if you want to come here to kill me because I don’t believe in your religion I got no problem with you living here. Do it legally, do it the right way and I’ll give you a job.”

In the meantime they’ll be an extra set of ears and eyes and do what they can. The group works closely with border patrol but they are not sanctioned by any government agency and they have no authority to make any arrests.

“So when you go on these trips you use your own time, you spend your own money, what is it about this mission that makes you passionate enough or makes you willing to, I mean you’re talking serious cash that you’re spending every time you go, why do you do it?” I asked.

“I love my country and the people that live in it and I want to help protect it,” said Karl.

The group has grown since it first started. In 2012 there were just 14 people that went. This upcoming trip, Karl expects more than 150 people.

Photojournalist Ray Harless and I will be joining the group for part of their mission, documenting their journey. Stay tuned for updates next week.

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