Posted on April 20, 2005

Mexican-Americans to Challenge Border Vigilantes

Adriana Lopez, HispanicBusiness, Apr. 19

Angered by the actions of “Minutemen” civilian border guards, some U.S. citizens of Mexican descent are crossing from Mexico into southern Arizona in the hopes of being “detained” by the vigilantes so they can then sue them for violating their civil rights.

“We know that it’s risky, but it’s the only way in which we can contribute to stopping those people who, like us, are civilians and have no right to detain immigrants,” organizer Antonio Madrigal told EFE.

A native of the Mexican state of Michoacan who became a U.S. citizen more than two decades ago, Madrigal heads the group Training Occupational Development Educating Communities, or TODEC, which aids immigrant communities in California.

His initiative is in response to the April 1 launch of the Minuteman Project, which involves a few hundred self-appointed sentinels taking up positions along a stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border to watch for undocumented immigrants trying to enter the United States.

The Minuteman effort, which is condemned by the Mexican government and frowned upon by the Bush administration, coincides with the implementation of an Arizona law — approved by voters last November — that denies some services to people who cannot prove they are legal U.S. residents.

Madrigal told EFE that he is one of some 500 activists prepared to challenge the Minuteman under the banner: “No Human Being is Illegal.”