- Associated Press - Sunday, August 15, 2010

HEREFORD, Ariz. | “Tea party” groups converged on a remote section of the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday to show support for Arizona’s new immigration law and hear from more than a dozen conservative speakers, many of them candidates running for office in crowded Republican primaries.

Several speaking to the crowd of more than 400 demanded Congress and President Obama devote more resources to increase border security in remote areas like the site of Sunday’s demonstration on a private ranch south of Tucson where 15-foot-high steel posts are set closely together to prevent people from crossing the border.

“We are going to force [our leaders] to do it, because if they don’t, we will not stop screaming,” said former state Sen. Pam Gorman, one of 10 Republicans vying for an open congressional seat in north Phoenix. Ms. Gorman carried a handgun in a holster slung over her shoulder as she mingled with demonstrators.

Demonstrators attached hundreds of U.S. flags with messages about curbing illegal immigration to the posts and chanted, “U-S-A,” after a handful of spectators gathered on the Mexico side of the border.

One of the messages posted on the border wall read, “Mister President … Secure This Border For America.”

Mr. Obama on Friday signed a bill directing $600 million more to securing the U.S.-Mexico border — money that will pay for hiring 1,000 more Border Patrol agents along with customs agents, communications equipment and expanded use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

A federal judge has put on hold the most contentious provisions of the law, including a section that would require officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws if they had “reasonable suspicion” that the person was in the country illegally.

Among those speaking at the rally Sunday was Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for his tough enforcement of immigration laws in Arizona’s most populous county.

He said immigration enforcement goes far beyond the nation’s border and the Mexican government should welcome U.S. border patrol or military forces to go after drug cartels south of the border.

“Don’t just say border enforcement, that’s a cop-out,” he said. “Let’s say lock them up in the interior.”

Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who is challenging incumbent Sen. John McCain in the Republican primary, also spoke at the rally.