Cliven Bundy is not a fan of walls.
A hero for some of the far right because of his family's armed clashes with the US government, the Nevada rancher is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump. But there is a major problem where they diverge.
"I'm really questioning his doctrine since he's started building a wall," Bundy, 72, told The Guardian on Wednesday. "I do not like walls. I think we should be able to get along with the neighbors … The Trump Wall has never been sitting very well with me. "
The Bundy family is gaining more and more attention this week as unanticipated critics of the president's anti-immigrant agenda after the United States fired tear gas at migrants, including children, on the Mexican border. The objections of the Bundy men – imprisoned for nearly two years and celebrated by anti-government militias – add to the list of right-wing voices condemning Trump for his attacks on asylum seeker migrants.
Cliven and his sons, Ammon and Ryan, were sued after their family refused to pay grazing fees for their Nevada cattle, which degenerated into an armed conflict with their ranch authorities in 2014. In 2016, both sons continued to protest the federal territory regulating and treating ranchers by the government with the care of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon, which has ended by massive arrests.
By winning breathtaking victories for the family and their supporters, US prosecutors failed to convict the Bundys in both cases, and Trump then pardoned two Oregon breeders, including the lodger. imprisonment had caused the shelter to be blocked.
Despite ties between the German right and the Bundy, Ammon surprised some of his supporters on Tuesday with a long video on Facebook defying some of the president's positions and expressing sympathy for migrants seeking to enter states. -United.
Ammon criticized the conspiracy theories about migrants and claimed that they "all formed a group of terrorists," saying, "It's a pile of rubbish." He also acknowledged that migrants are fleeing violence: "The conditions in Honduras are actually terrible … Many of the refugees said they lost a husband, a mother, a brother, a sister or children and that they had been threat ".
He said some anti-immigrant arguments are "based on fear" and "based on selfishness".
Contacted by phone, Cliven said he was in agreement with some of his son's arguments.
"Are they good people or bad people? If they are good people looking for shelter, we are Americans and we should have a heart and we should try to help them, "he said, highlighting the painful journeys that some have probably undertaken. "How much suffering and effort do they make to get to our border? They seek a certain freedom and a better life. "
Cliven, however, said it was "hard to tell the truth" and cited unsubstantiated information that migrants could earn payments to be part of the caravan. Trump and other Republicans have repeated baselessly that Democrats were funding migrants and Ammon has acknowledged these "conservative" lies.
Cliven said he believed that migrants should have the opportunity to seek asylum.
"Are they really refugees or are they really criminals? … we have to settle in and fix them, "he said. "We can support a few thousand people for a few days."
Cliven emphasized that borders and national sovereignty were important to him and that the use of arms could be justified in some cases: "It is the US job of protecting our borders. If they have to use tear gas, I hope they will not be and that they will not do it. "
The Bundys are Mormons, and the father and son are both referenced Faith in their comments on migrants.
"We are kind of a world church. We believe that all people on this earth are the children of our heavenly Father, "said Cliven, noting that there are Mexican members of the Mormon Church. "We believe that we are equal, and we should be treated equally and not be divided."
Cliven added that he also thought that the protection wall proposed by Trump, a signature of the 2016 campaign, would be largely useless.
"They can not build a wall to stop people … I do not think it will be useless," he said, adding, "We have an obligation between the two countries to deal with each other. with others and we are neighbors. refugees who come from the extreme south, I think we have to deal with them. I do not think that's a big problem. "
In a separate interview, Ryan said he spoke to Ammon before his Facebook video and expressed support for his brother, adding, "The United States of America has always been known to be a melting pot. It's always a place of immigration. With the exception of Native Americans, we are all immigrants. "
But, he added, "It does not mean that everyone can just hastily cross the border. There is still a process to follow. "
The Bundys' long prison term may have also influenced their unique policy.
Cliven, who was photographed in 2014 by calling the American negroes "black" and wondering if they were "better off as slaves," said he had learned a lot about the fact that he was a "black man". injustice of the US penitentiary system.
"There is a pretty good percentage of people who should not be in prison," he said. "They make money with the prisoners … it's a bureaucracy instead of the judicial system."
He says he is troubled by the high incarceration rate in America: "We are supposed to be the freest country in the world … I was in jail with several thousand people. I saw a lot of good people there. The smartest people in this country could be incarcerated in their prisons. "
Ammon, who could not be contacted for comment, said in his video that he had received many "negative responses" regarding his views on refugees, including threats of violence: "Several people wished me death and others wished that the militia never come help my family so that the government kills us. "