Posted on April 7, 2005

Minutemen Find Few Migrants

Michael Marizco, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), Apr. 5


In the first few days of the Minuteman Project, volunteers have been slowing illegal immigration into the Naco area. They’ve accomplished that with the help of an unlikely ally: Mexico.

Eager to avoid confrontations between volunteers and its people, Mexico is sweeping the area south of the Minuteman Project clear of migrants.

Gov. Eduardo Bours Castelo has placed 44 members of the new state police force across the border at La Morita, a cattle ranch that leads directly to the border south of Bisbee, said Diego Padilla the governor’s Arizona representative.

The state police are working with Grupo Beta, Mexico’s migrant protection force, which is plucking migrants out of the desert and depositing them in nearby Agua Prieta, where they are encouraged to wait before trying to cross.

“We are very crude with them; we tell them they may be shot, that there’s rancheros out to stop them and hurt them,” said Enrique Enriques Palafox, a Grupo Beta commander in Agua Prieta. The point is to terrify the migrants from the area so they won’t cross illegally and encounter Minuteman volunteers, he said.

Sunday, the coordinated efforts of the military, Grupo Beta, and the new police force pulled 22 groups of migrants out of the ranch, Palafox said. By Monday, only a handful of people had to be told to go somewhere else.