Posted on April 4, 2005

A Roadblock, Not a Barrier for Migrants

David Kelly, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 4

LA MORITA, Mexico — Sergio Cruz almost made it. He had walked five days through the desert, was robbed at gunpoint, abandoned by his guide and now was within 20 yards of the border.

That’s when he saw the line of trucks and sport utility vehicles flying American flags just over the barbed-wire fence separating Mexico from the U.S. Frustrated, he and nine other travelers lay quietly in a ditch along the railroad tracks hoping the men would go away. Early Sunday, Enrique Enriquez stumbled across the migrants and broke the news.

“Did anyone tell you about the Minutemen?” Enriquez, a member of Grupo Beta, Mexico’s agency dedicated to protecting the health of migrants, asked the ragged group. “They are hunting for guys just like you. You couldn’t get across now if you were sitting on George Bush’s lap…. You cannot cross here — wait a month or choose another place.”

Enriquez had been patrolling La Morita, a desolate border region, all morning. His mission was to intercept people heading north and warn them about the Minuteman Project, an effort by hundreds of American volunteers to track and report illegal immigrants coming into southeastern Arizona.


Although only about 200 activists have shown up, their efforts have already had a dramatic, if perhaps short-term effect.

This vast desert border just west of Douglas, Ariz., is the busiest illegal crossing point in the nation. Enriquez said more than 400 people a day walk these harsh trails. But news of the Minutemen’s arrival, combined with media hype in Mexico, has cut the traffic to a few dozen a day.


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Minuteman Project Snagging 1st Illegals, Apr. 3

Just before its official commencement, the Minuteman Project has helped U.S. officials capture at least 18 suspected illegal aliens.

Volunteers with the group of private citizens spotted the migrants yesterday as they were familiarizing themselves with the area near Naco, Ariz.

When federal agents arrived at the scene, they took into custody 18 migrants, Border Patrol spokesman Andy Adame told the Associated Press.

“You observe them, report them and get out of the way,” Mike McGarry, a spokesman for the project, told the wire service.


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