Friday, February 17, 2006

Minuteman founder Chris Simcox yesterday announced plans for a new nationwide “Secure Our Borders” campaign in April, saying 6,500 civilian volunteers will man observation posts and conduct patrols along 800 miles of U.S. border with Mexico and Canada.

Mr. Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), said new efforts are being made to better respond to thousands of civilians who are expected to volunteer and a revised leadership structure has been established to meet what he called “the growing needs of continued Minuteman border security operations.”

Minuteman chapters have been established or are pending in 35 states, he said.

“Last year, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps revolutionized the national debate about border security and illegal immigration by focusing the nation’s attention on the dangers of America’s wide-open borders in a post-September 11 world,” Mr. Simcox said. “The Minutemen have demonstrated that the borders can be secured with sufficient political will and dedication.”

In April, more than 800 civilian volunteers shut down a 23-mile section of the Arizona border near Naco with day and night border vigils. In October, similar operations were conducted along the U.S.-Mexico border and in seven states along the Canadian border.

Mr. Simcox said the volunteers this year will again observe and report suspected illegal border crossings to the proper authorities and maintain a “no contact” policy with the aliens except to provide water or medical assistance when needed.

He said that since the operations last year, interest in joining and supporting the Minutemen has “exploded nationwide.”

To date, he said, 6,500 men and women have passed the required background check and interviews to qualify to become volunteers — with more waiting for approval.

“MCDC has asked for and accepted the help of experienced border volunteers who have been on the front lines, some for as long as four years.” Mr. Simcox said. “This expansion further solidifies MCDC’s ability to continue the largest neighborhood watch effort in American history.”

Minuteman chapters have been established in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho, Mr. Simcox said.

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