Thursday, September 15, 2005

On The Border Between Order And Chaos

As thousands of illegal immigrants from Mexico cross the U.S. border to take jobs from American citizens and quietly retake the lands lost in the Mexican-American War while the Border Patrol and INS sat powerlessly by, some Americans thought it was time to do the job their government couldn't do.

So they formed the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

Our own government's perceived laxity in keeping criminals and terrorists from crossing into the U.S. has led them to start patrolling the Canada-U.S. border:

Armed civilians described by President George W. Bush as "vigilantes" held their first practice session yesterday for a planned border patrol on the U.S.-Canada boundary near Blaine, Wash.

U.S. and Canadian law enforcement officials say they have serious reservations about pistol-packing members of an unregulated ragtag army, comprised mostly of Vietnam veterans, scouting the border for illegal immigrants and terrorists.

Some officers worry armed confrontations could take place along the 32-kilometre sector south of Vancouver from Blaine to Sumas, Wash., which the Minuteman members plan to watch. The highly porous border is a major two-way smuggling route for drugs, weapons and illegal immigrants flowing both ways.

"When we do police operations we co-ordinate with recognized law enforcement agents so at least we know where each one of us is -- if other groups come into that sphere or that area where we are in and they are armed, they could very well be putting themselves in harm's way," said RCMP spokesman Sergeant John Ward.

He also warned that a confrontation could happen between law enforcement officials and the Minuteman members if they cross the border by mistake. Canadians are barred from carrying weapons while Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms.

But members of the Minuteman Civil Defence Corp militia say authorities have no cause for concern. They say they check the police records of their members and applicants are vetted before being allowed to join the group run out of Arizona. All members who carry out patrols will be properly instructed and supervised, they said.

The group's members in Washington state have given themselves titles such as "Intelligence Chief" or "Safety Officer" and the top leadership of the chapter is comprised of men who are disabled Vietnam veterans in their 60s. They plan to have as many as 60 volunteers working the border.


The two chiefs of the Washington Minuteman Detachment told The Vancouver Province they have consulted with border patrol officers and the Whatcom County Sheriff, who have no objections. They say they will keep border patrol officers informed of where they are located, will not attempt to apprehend anyone and instead will phone border patrol officers if they spot anyone infiltrating into the United States.

"Our main concern was with terrorists and plugging the holes in and along the border -- we are all veterans and ex police officers and what not," said Mr.(Claude) LaBas, who says he was born in St. Boniface, Man. He lives in Ferndale, Wash. Both men insist they are not against immigrants of any race. They say they want immigrants to use the proper channels to enter their country.

The Minutemen are not vigilantes; they are vigilant citizens.

While the U.S. turns a blind eye to illegal immigration because of the benefits of a cheap labour pool, these men keep their eyes open and force the government to do its duty.

While Canada turns a blind eye to criminals and terrorists crossing into the U.S. because of our government's tacit approval of any activities that might embarrass the U.S. government, these men act as a first line of defence.

If the Minutemen were vigilantes, they would not let the authorities know what they're doing in advance, nor would they let their members report what they see to the authorities to deal with it.

Think of them as a Neighbourhood Watch for the border.

Source: National Post

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