Should Volunteer Civilian Groups Such as the Minutemen Patrol the Borders?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the public policy research arm of the U.S. Congress, stated in its Apr. 7, 2006 report titled “Civilian Patrols Along the Border: Legal and Policy Issues”:
“The phenomenon of civilians taking it upon themselves to patrol the border has existed in a wide variety of forms for at least a hundred and fifty years. Some are informal or ad hoc groupings of citizens, while others are highly organized and well funded groups that actively recruit members. Over the past fifteen years civilian border patrol organizations appear to have proliferated along the U.S.-Mexico border. Though the reasons for their formation vary, many of the groups were organized in response to an apparent lack of federal resources at the border and to the significant increases in illegal entries.”Apr. 7, 2006
The Mountain Minutemen, a border patrol group, in their “About” information, accessed on Nov. 13, 2017, available at the Mountain Minutemen website, stated:
“We the Mountain Minutemen have volunteered to support the United States Border Patrol in securing the border. We specialize in Counter-Narco Terrorism.
Our mission is to wake up the sheeple in realizing that amnesty, open borders, and illegal alien invasion is a threat to the sovereignty of this great nation… We are out on our nation’s borders and helping to protect them and do what our corrupt politicians fail to do… Securing the border is essential for the preservation of the sovereignty of this great nation.”Nov. 13, 2017
Mike Morris, founder and commanding officer of III% United Patriots (3UP), an armed group that patrols the US/Mexico border, in a Jan. 5, 2016 interview, “Interview with a III% United Patriots Leader – Mike Morris,” available at ammmoland.com, stated:
“Arizona border operations is our chance to help protect and secure our southern border with Mexico. We keep it in perspective though we know that a few trips a year will not end the issues at the border but to us it is a duty that we perform. It has allowed us to work closely with Border Patrol agents, and gives a chance for members of 3UP to meet up from across the country. We have had an overwhelming positive response from Border Patrol and the local citizens. We have really been able to go down and we feel like we have made a difference like we have given something back to the community to the country and have done our small part.”Jan. 5, 2016
US Border Patrol Local 2544 union, according to an Apr. 18, 2005 WorldNet Daily online article titled “Border Patrol Union Supports Minutemen,” stated:
“We want to make it clear – because we’ve had a lot of questions about this – we have not had one single complaint from a rank-and-file agent in this sector about the Minutemen…
Every report we’ve received indicates these people are very supportive of the rank-and-file agents; they’re courteous. Many of them are retired firefighters, cops, and other professionals, and they’re not causing us any problems whatsoever…
While President Bush entices millions of illegal aliens to keep coming with his amnesty proposals and his demoralizing statements that he doesn’t want Border Patrol agents chasing ‘good-hearted people just coming here to take jobs Americans won’t do,’ the Minutemen are trying to get our laws enforced.”Apr. 18, 2005
Robert C. Bonner, JD, former Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, stated in a July 21, 2005 New York Times article titled “Border Patrol Considering Use of Volunteers, Official Says,”:
“[T]here is the possibility in local border communities, and maybe even beyond, of having citizens that would be willing to volunteer to help the Border Patrol…
We value having eyes and ears of citizens, and I think that would be one of the things we are looking at is how you better organize, let’s say, a citizen effort”July 21, 2005
Chris Simcox, founder and President of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, formerly the Civil Homeland Defense (CHD), stated in an undated document (accessed Oct. 11, 2007):
“Since our government officials have basically notified the world that the border fence is not being patrolled, it is now more important than ever for citizens to rise to the occasion and fill a void in National security.
CHD volunteers will now patrol the border with over 100 fully armed Citizens who consider themselves members of the unorganized state militia; we have the legal right and moral obligation as per our Arizona State Constitution and Federal Constitution and our respect for American citizens.
Our intent is to send a strong message to the world that we will stand defiant to invaders and protect the borders of our country.”Oct. 11, 2007
Tony Estrada, Sheriff for Santa Cruz County in Arizona, is quoted in a Feb. 1, 2017 article, “Out on Patrol with Heavily Armed Civilian Vigilantes on Arizona’s Border with Mexico,” available at abcnews.go.com:
“The dynamics can be very dangerous if we have people coming in from the outside. They’re not law enforcement don’t have the authority to do immigration work.
I think they’re dangerous and in danger because nobody will vet them. Nobody’s said, ‘Who are you? What’s your background? What’s your position on immigration? Are you a racist? What exactly is your purpose for being down here?'”Feb. 1, 2017
Mark Potok, Senior Fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, in a Feb. 4, 2017 interview, “Armed Citizens Patrol the Arizona-Mexico Border,” available at pbs.org, stated:
“These people are incredibly dangerous. They’re running around like a bunch of GI Joe’s, darting from cactus plant to cactus plant, armed to the teeth, and essentially playing war… This is a movement that tends to attract people who are quite unhinged. This is a barrel with a whole lot of bad apples in it.”Feb. 4, 2017
George W. Bush, MBA, President of the US, answered Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, in a Mar. 23, 2005 exchange at Baylor University:
“PRESIDENT FOX: (As translated) And, President Bush, I wanted to ask you about your opinion about those people who are hunting migrant people along the border.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I’m against vigilantes in the United States of America. I’m for enforcing law in a rational way. That’s why you got a Border Patrol, and they ought to be in charge of enforcing the border.”Mar. 23, 2005
Jennifer Allen, Director of the Border Action Network, stated in an Apr. 5, 2005 discussion on Democracy Now! titled “Vigilantes or Civilian Border Patrol? A Debate on the Minuteman Project”:
“The Border Patrol does this every day, and they are qualified and very well trained to handle the situation… Ordinary Americans are not. So there’s a danger that not just illegal migrants might get hurt, but that American citizens might get hurt in this situation.”Apr. 5, 2005
The Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE), the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an Aug. 2, 2005 report titled “Actions of the Government of Mexico Relative to Activities of Vigilantism,” stated:
“[W]hat we don’t need is civilians taking arms up and out patrolling the desert for immigrants themselves. No additional amount of men with guns is ever going to solve the problems of failing immigration and border policy. What we need to see is comprehensive immigration reform, not vigilantes.”Aug. 2, 2005
Lucas Guttentag, JD, National Director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation, stated in an Apr. 29, 2005 press release titled “ACLU Dismayed at Governor Schwarzenegger’s Endorsement of Armed Vigilantes on California’s Border”:
“Encouraging private individuals to enforce federal immigration laws is an invitation to lawlessness and increases the danger of abuse and violence. During the Minutemen’s actions in Arizona, the Immigrants’ Rights Project participated in the legal observer program to monitor the vigilante actions. We saw firsthand that the presence of armed vigilantes at border towns and communities creates a climate of intimidation and fear among residents of border communities. As a result of the Minutemen’s presence, residents were afraid to send their children to school, to go shopping, and to engage in normal business activity.”Apr. 29, 2005