Archive for June 21st, 2005

Is it vigilance or a bunch of vigilantes? Volunteer border patrols met with Texas ranchers Monday night to explain how they hope to fight illegal immigration along the border with Mexico.

At the meeting in Goliad, the head of the group said he believes there’s enough support in Texas to form four chapters of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

It drew international attention in April for monitoring illegal immigrants along the Arizona-Mexico border.

Nes 36 went to the south Texas border to talk to locals looking to sign up.

Dr. Mike Vickers is helpless to stop the flood of illegal immigrants pouring through his south Texas ranch everyday.

“We’re being invaded. This is a huge invasion,” Vickers said.

All he can do is pick up their trash and fix the holes they tear in his fence along Highway 281.

“Here’s a spot where they cut a section out,” Vickers said.

They use his property to avoid detection by a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint nearby.

“It’s at a point where we don’t even bother to call anymore because their response is poor,” Vickers said.

So the controversial Minuteman Civil Defense Corps is responding to Texas.

“Right now our country’s at risk when it comes to national security,” President of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps Chris Simcox said.

It’s the same group that put citizen patrols on the Arizona border this spring and now they helping Texans organize their own.

“We’re not a country without borders. And we’re not safe as long as our government refuses to stop criminals from coming into this country,” Simcox said.

The Rio Grande River is literally the frontline in what locals say is a losing battle against illegal immigration. They say illegal aliens swim from the Mexican side to the U.S. side and are landing just a mile from a heavily patrolled international bridge.

Vickers says the Minutemen will bring much needed eyes and ears to fight the flow of illegal immigration. So far, organizers say they’ve got 1,000 volunteers and a half-dozen chapters statewide.

“I think it’ll be very effective,” Vickers said.

Minutemen organizers promise to always be very fair and humane.

“We have a strict ‘no contact’ policy. We abide strictly by the laws of the state in which you work. We do nothing but observe and report to the proper authorities,” Simcox said.

Those who come into this country illegally vow there is little that will stop them.

“They don’t understand that we are coming over to work. Some are coming for the wrong reason, but most of us are just coming to work,” illegal immigrant Rolando Ruiz said.

They promise to keep coming arrest after arrest whether it’s the Border Patrol or Minutemen that are trying to stop them.

The federal government does not endorse the activity of the Minutemen.

Governor Rick Perry has said there’s nothing he can do to stop individuals conducting legal activity along the border.

The first officials patrols are set to begin in October.

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Starting Friday, leaders of the Minuteman Project, a self-proclaimed neighborhood watch group, will spread more than 1,000 volunteers along the Arizona border in an effort to report suspected illegal aliens to the Border Patrol.

In response to the Minuteman Project, President Bush said last week, “I am against vigilantes in the United States of America. I am for enforcing law in a rational way.”

But there’s a reason these so-called vigilantes exist: The federal government refuses to address seriously the increasingly important issues of border security and illegal immigration.

There’s tremendous irony in the president’s declaration that it’s the Border Patrol’s job to enforce laws in a rational way. In his budget, the president provided for 210 additional Border Patrol agents this year, when it’s been mandated that 2,000 were needed.

In a news briefing this week, White House press secretary Scott McClellan also expressed concern about the Minuteman Project, saying, “We don’t want people operating outside the law. The president made that very clear last week.”

More irony from the administration: We don’t want concerned Americans operating outside the law in response, yet we have no problem allowing millions of noncitizens to cross our borders illegally every year.

If the president wants to enforce the law in a rational way, he might start by enforcing the laws already on the books. Until Bush can find it in his budget to send the appropriate number of Border Patrol agents requested by Congress, concerned private citizens and state governments will continue to take action.

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