An organization of citizens in California, created last year to support the U.S. Border Patrol, will begin its own Minuteman-style vigil in August, using volunteers to spot illegal aliens in areas around San Diego, organizers said yesterday.
The Friends of the Border Patrol, led by Chairman Andy Ramirez, said 300 retired police officers, military personnel, pilots and other citizens have offered their services for the “FBP Border Watch,” which the organization hopes to expand eventually from the Pacific Ocean to the Arizona state line.
The volunteers, Mr. Ramirez said, also include people to patrol the border on horseback and a contractor who has offered to build a base camp for the operation.
Minuteman founder James T. Gilchrist, a retired California certified public accountant and combat-wounded Vietnam veteran, endorsed the California effort, offering his support and advice—including the need for law enforcement and military personnel to participate to help “weed people out who do not belong.”
Minuteman co-organizer Chris Simcox, a Tombstone, Ariz., newspaper publisher and founder of Arizona’s Civil Homeland Defense Corps., has said that “tens of thousands” of volunteers will be ready in October to control illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border from California to Texas.
“We will package up what we’ve done here and do it again as a multistate border project. We will tell the government to do its job in securing this border or we will shut it down ourselves,” he said.
Mr. Simcox also said this past week that the Minutemen are looking to help organize patrol efforts in four states along the U.S.-Canada border—Idaho, Michigan, North Dakota and Vermont.
Officially, the Border Patrol was not supportive of the Minuteman Project, saying immigration enforcement was the responsibility of the federal government. It has cast similar doubts on the California proposal.
Numerous rank-and-file agents in Arizona, however, told The Washington Times they welcomed the volunteers and the nationwide attention their project brought to the problem of the porous southern border.