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Armed Citizens Patrol U.S.-Mexico Border in Arizona

Patrols of armed civilians in Arizona are looking for drug smugglers and undocumented immigrants along the Mexican border.

Donald Trump's promises to build a wall "and make Mexico pay for it" were rallying cries throughout his march to the White House. Trump has since said that he would accept building a fence instead of a wall "in certain areas," but border security issues are likely to be a top priority for the incoming administration. 

Photographer John Moore traveled with a group of civilian paramilitaries in Arizona who've made it their business to patrol along the border with Mexico. 

The armed group, made up mostly of former U.S. military servicemen and women, stages reconnaissance and surveillance operations against drug and human smuggling operations in remote border areas. 

Above: Members of Arizona Border Recon leave their vehicle near the U.S.-Mexico border on Nov. 14, 2016 near Arivaca, Arizona.

John Moore / Getty Images

Civilian paramilitaries with Arizona Border Recon search for a illegal immigrants and drug smugglers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

John Moore / Getty Images

Members prepare to deploy near the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The group, which claims up to 200 volunteers, does not consider itself a militia, but rather a group of citizens supplementing U.S. Border Patrol efforts to control illegal border activity.

John Moore / Getty Images
James, 24, patrols with Arizona Border Recon on Nov. 16 in Pima County. The college student said he felt it is his duty to help protect the nation's borders. "There's evil going on here," he said. John Moore / Getty Images

Arizona Border Recon director Tim Foley looks over the U.S.-Mexico border fence near Arivaca, Arizona. Foley, 57, a U.S. Army veteran, first organized his volunteers in 2010. 

John Moore / Getty Images
Members patrol near the U.S.-Mexico border. John Moore / Getty Images

On its website, Arizona Border Recon declares "Our objective is not to overthrow any government, or take the law into our own hands. We are not here to replace the Border Patrol. We operate within the scope of the law as citizens, by observing and reporting what we see."

John Moore / Getty Images

Kat Nooy, 39, stands in the Arizona Border Recon camp on Nov. 16. Nooy works as a prison guard in a federal penitentiary, but serves as a nurse for AZBR.

Asked why she volunteers on the border, she said "I don't want people bringing in explosives. I work in a prison that houses terrorists. I have no issue with people coming over to have a better life, but there's a better way to do it."

John Moore / Getty Images
A member of the group watches for drug smugglers and groups of undocumented immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. John Moore / Getty Images

U.S. military veteran Chris, 30, stands in the Arizona Border Recon camp on Nov. 16.

He said he served with an elite U.S. Army unit in Afghanistan. "I took an oath when I joined the military to protect my country's borders, and that oath is forever," he said. "It's my country and I love it."

John Moore / Getty Images
A member of Arizona Border Recon wears the group's patch. John Moore / Getty Images
The moon sets behind a barbed wire fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. John Moore / Getty Images

Civilian paramilitaries with Arizona Border Recon eat in their camp while on an operation at the U.S.-Mexico border on Nov. 14, 2016 near Arivaca, Arizona.

Migration from Mexico, which has been the top source of new immigration to the U.S., is at its lowest since the 1990s, according to Pew Research Center. 

John Moore / Getty Images