DOUGLAS, Arizona: Volunteers for an effort to patrol the Mexican border for illegal immigrants and smugglers marched in southern Arizona yesterday to draw attention to what they say is the government’s failure to control illegal immigration.
About 150 people, including volunteers for the Minuteman Project and their supporters, chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, illegal aliens got to go” and sang God Bless America as they filed past the Border Patrol station in this community. Some of the group had attended a similar rally earlier in the day in nearby Naco.
“I just feel like the president and the Congress have let us down on national security since 9/11,” said Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks, Calif., who will join other volunteers when they begin patrolling the border Monday.
“We have open borders, and the director of the FBI has said Al Qaeda wants to sneak in.”
Jim Gilchrist, a retired accountant from California who organized the project, said the people at the protest represented only a portion of 450 participants on hand for the patrols.
There was no way to verify the count independently Saturday. Human rights activists and some authorities have questioned whether the patrols will draw the hundreds that organisers expect.
The idea, according to organizers of the Minuteman Project, is for volunteers to fan out across 23 miles of the San Pedro Valley to watch the border and report any illegal activity to federal agents, an exercise some law enforcement officials fear could lead to vigilante violence.