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Minutemen Step Up US Border Patrol; Violence Feared

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Tim Gaynor, Reuters, Sept. 30

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A U.S. militia group will launch a month-long sweep for illegal immigrants along the border with Mexico this weekend, stepping up a campaign that has raised fears of violence.

Volunteers plan to gather at seven sites between San Diego, California, and Brownsville, Texas, throughout October to scour the deserts for illegal immigrants and report them to the U.S. Border Patrol so they can be arrested.

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps began their controversial patrols in Arizona in April and spin-off groups later held similar operations in California.

Now, for the first time, the Minutemen are taking their protest to all four U.S. states along the porous 2,000-mile (3,200-km) border with Mexico beginning on Saturday.

The Minutemen, who take their name from an American Revolution militia, are keeping the specific locations secret for fear they might attract protesters, who clashed with breakaway militia patrols in California.

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The growth of the Minuteman patrols has stirred stiff opposition among Latino activists and many residents in towns and cities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The California-based Brown Berets, a Mexican-American group that was allied with the revolutionary U.S. Black Panther Party in the 1960s, has vowed to confront the Minuteman volunteers during their October vigil.

An Arizona rights group, the Border Action Network, distributed posters to stores in Naco, Douglas and Nogales on the Mexican border this week, declaring the communities “hate-free zones” and saying “racist vigilantes” are unwelcome.

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Original article

(Posted on September 30, 2005)

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