From AP via the Houston Chronicle, Aug. 21:
Volunteers plan to man Texas border
SAN ANTONIO — Hundreds of volunteers plan to keep watch over the Texas-Mexico border near Laredo beginning Sept. 11, aiding the U.S. Border Patrol’s effort to stop illegal immigration.
The eight-week “Operation Sovereignty” — to begin on the fifth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks and end on Election Day, Nov. 7 — is meant to “bring national awareness to the illegal alien invasion crisis,” said Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist.
Texas Minutemen president Shannon McGauley said he expects anywhere from 800 to 2,000 attendees. The American Border Patrol of Arizona, another volunteer group, also will participate, Gilchrist said.
The Minuteman Project is different from the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, which also patrols the border and reports illegal immigrants to authorities.
The Minuteman Project has a policy of “passive activity,” and McGauley said the volunteers will only report illegal immigrant sightings to the Border Patrol and will not approach border crossers or interfere with officers.
Reynaldo Garza, acting chief patrol agent for the Laredo border sector, said Minuteman patrols have aided in immigrant arrests in the past. He added that the most important communication with the Border Patrol is that “we know where they are, and they know where we are.”
“We depend on them to pass information on to us, and that’s what the Minutemen will be doing,” Garza said.
Just as the Minutemen are preparing “Operation Sovereignty,” the federal government is moving ahead with “Operation Jump Start,” a two-year mission ordered by President Bush to send more than 6,000 National Guardsmen to assist the US Border Patrol. Nevada’s Lahontan Valley News reports Aug. 21 that the Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Civil Engineering Squadron has just returned from southern Arizona, where they led a road-improvement mission. The operation was on the land of the Tohono O’Odham Indian Nation, whose reservation (the country’s second-largest) abuts the Mexican border. The Tohono O’Odham’s traditional territory straddles the international border, and their communities have come under pressure from the conflict over “illegal” immigration. The Nevada civil engineering group did coordinate with the Tohono O’Odham tribal government to preserve archeological relics in the impacted area.