A retired US Army lieutenant colonel is organizing an armed convoy next week to the Texas border to, he says, hunt down migrants crossing into the US from Mexico. Hundreds of people already say they are coordinating travel plans for the convoy on Telegram as tensions continue to rise between the state and federal government over immigration.
Pete Chambers, the lieutenant colonel who says he was a Green Beret, appeared on far-right school-shooting conspiracist Alex Jones’ InfoWars show on Thursday to outline plans for the Take Back Our Border convoy, which has been primarily organized on Telegram.
“What gets us to the enemy quickly is find, fix, and finish,” Chambers told Jones. “That’s what we did in Syria when we took out ISIS really quick. Now we don’t have the authorities to finish, so what we can do is fix the location of where the bad guys are and pair up with law enforcement who are constitutionally sound.”
While this kind of right-wing chatter doesn’t always amount to anything, on Telegram the main Take Back Our Border channel now has over 1,000 members and is being used as a place to plan and share information about the convoy, as well as three rallies taking place in Texas, California, and Arizona next week. The convoy will reportedly begin on Monday, January 29, and participants currently say they are planning on driving to Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas, where the Texas National Guard is currently in a standoff with the US Border Patrol.
The convoy has been promoted by Texas state representative Keith Self, who appeared on Fox Business to speak about the event and posted a link to a news article from the conspiracy-focused The Gateway Pundit about the convoy on his X account.
In state-specific subgroups for attendees to organize rideshares and other resources, members are outlining their plans about where along the route they will join up with the convoy. The main part of the convoy will begin in Virginia and will make its way through Florida, Louisiana, and on to Texas.
One group member suggested others bring “kits” to the planned rallies so that “if stuff goes down you will be able to protect yourselves and help out.” Another user responded: “I’m in Missouri. I’ll be ready and have my kit full.”
Some Telegram users have compared this moment to the American revolution of 1776.
“There is a point where we are going to have to get our hands dirty,” one member wrote in the Texas group. “I’ve dealt with MANY bullies in my life, and I’ve never been able to reason with them. The one universal language bullies understand is when you push them back.”
Another poster shared a quote from far-right figure Jack Posobiec saying the country is on “the verge of civil war with the government,” while one member claimed, without evidence, that the Border Patrol is “letting known terrorists into the US.”
A promotional video for the convoy on the website begins with alarms sounding and the words “invasion alert” flashing over what appears to be night-vision footage of people crossing the border. The video also calls back to previous convoys, such as the People’s Convoy that rolled into Washington, DC, in 2022 to protest Covid-19 lockdowns. However, the administrators of the Telegram group and the convoy’s website are careful to say this will be a peaceful protest and that only “law-abiding citizens” are welcome. The convoy’s website says it’s looking for everyone to join the effort, including “all active and retired law enforcement and military veterans.”