From the January 2003 Idaho Observer:

Citizens groups, border patrol attempt to stem flow of illegal immigation on southern border

TUCSON, Arizona -- Citizens groups and border patrol officers have established a new environment of cooperation as they attempt to stem the flow of illegal immigrants pouring over the border. It is expected that 1,000,000 illegals will come back over the Mexican border between January 6 an May 1.

Last year President Bush announced his intention to give amnesty to some 6,000,000 Mexicans who have entered the U.S. illegally. Since his announcement, “illegal border crossings are up by 63 percent” commented Chris Simcox. Simcox, editor of the weekly Tombstone Tumbleweed, has organized a neighborhood watch group called Homeland Defense.

In anticipation of an annual wave of illegal border crossings prompted by Mexicans returning to the U.S. after the Feast of the Epiphany, Simcox and his group patrolled a 10-mile section of International Border Road near the San Pedro River.

“We present a presence that deters illegal border crossings,” said Simcox who described a U.S. flag cap his crew wears to make them stand out in a crowd. Simcox also noted the presence of the Mexican military on the south side of the line.

Homeland Defense was positioned to the west of overworked and understaffed Border Patrol officers who are glad to have the help. Simcox explained that 99 percent of rank and file Border Patrol officers are “good guys” who are frustrated. “They deserve to be commended for the work they do,” Simcox said.

Simcox feels confident that citizens and Border Patrol officers are building a relationship of mutual trust and respect. He recognized, however, that the bloated Border Patrol bureaucracy is not as appreciative of civilian support.

By 1999, citizens in communities near the border were tired of the violence, vandalism, theft and general degradation occurring in their communities as a result of illegal immigration and large-scale drug trafficking. Local police couldn't or wouldn't help control the problem; the federal government seemed to promote rather than condone the illegals and contraband crossing the border.

The result was the formation of groups such as Ranch Rescue and Homeland Defense -- a network of neighborhood watch groups who are committed to protecting each other. Homeland Defense currently has 100 fully screened and trained volunteers ready to participate in patrols.

National attention has recently been focusing on the problems on our southern border. Insight and Time magazines, FOX, CNN and CSPAN have been airing the serious issues being raised by civilian presence in defense of our national borders. “We are just answering the call of our president to be vigilant,” said Simcox.

While the feds concentrate on scrutinizing the movement, communications and financial transactions of Americans in their “war on terrorism,” millions of illegals and tons of contraband arrive into this country virtually unchecked. “The Bush administration cannot ignore this much longer,” Simcox said.

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