‘Until border’s fixed or I’m dead’: Meet civilian watchmen doing what feds won’t


The “watchmen” of the The Arizona Border Recon lack nothing in commitment—this group of American civilians is doing a job that President Obama refuses to allow the government to do: secure the border.

They’ve been keeping an eye on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, working closely with local Customs and Border Patrol agents, for at least the past year.  Photographer Johnny Milano captured them for his project “In The Hills of Pima,”  and told their story to Feature Shoot Magazine.


The “AZBR” is a group of men, armed with their own weapons and tactical gear, who go out in all weather, for days at a time, to help secure the border from what they—and many Americans—see as an invasion.

The Arizona legislature grants a right for individuals to make citizen’s arrests for certain crimes, and even if the federal government, which officially condemns citizen groups like the AZBR, refuses to enforce the law, local agents certainly appreciate the help.


The men are led by Tim Foley, known as “Nailer.”  Most of the men have either military or private security experience—some of them are experts in the field.  They function in many ways like a military unit: gathering intelligence, planning missions, and gearing up for duty in the Arizona hills.


Membership in the AZBR is by invitation only. They allow anyone to ride along for a first time, but newcomers may not be invited back.

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump might appreciate the group’s commitment to border security.  Asked how long he will continue his patrols, Nailer explained, “We’re going to keep doing it until [the border’s] fixed or I’m dead.”


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