Border Vigil Planned for California

Jerry Seper, Washington Times, May 19

Minuteman organizer James T. Gilchrist, whose 850 volunteers shut down the flow of illegal aliens along a 23-mile section of Arizona-Mexico border last month, has joined forces with another citizens group to help organize a new border vigil in California—beginning in August.

The Minuteman Project has reached an agreement with the Friends of the Border Patrol (FBP) to help promote a new “border watch” aimed at assisting U.S. Border Patrol agents in apprehending illegal aliens on the California border near San Diego.

FBP Chairman Andy Ramirez said more than 500 volunteers have signed up to patrol areas of the California-Mexico border in August, including former Border Patrol agents, retired police and military personnel and pilots. He said yesterday that at least 2,000 more applications from volunteers nationwide are still being reviewed.

The California vigil will kick off an effort by the Minuteman Project to link anti-illegal immigration groups nationwide and create a network of civilian volunteers along the nation’s borders, said Mr. Gilchrist, who lives in Aliso Viejo, Calif. He said he also intends to target employers in the near future who knowingly hire illegal aliens.

“We did in our first 10 days what the federal government and Congress couldn’t do over the past 10 years,” Mr. Gilchrist said.

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More than a dozen Border Patrol agents told The Washington Times last week that agents in Naco, Ariz., had been ordered not to arrest illegal aliens along the section patrolled by the Minutemen because an increase in apprehensions after the volunteers left would prove the effectiveness of their border vigil. They said supervisors at the Naco station instructed them during daily briefings that arrests were “not to go up.”

Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar at the agency’s Washington headquarters has denied the accusations, but several other agents have since come forward to confirm the instructions.

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