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The volunteer border-watchdog group Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has launched a new monthlong campaign one year after its operations along the U.S.-Mexico frontier began drawing national attention.
The new effort comes as Congress debates controversial immigration-reform legislation that has drawn massive protests from advocates of illegal aliens.
Along with Arizona, the Minutemen have planned exercises along the border in California, New Mexico and Texas, and along the northern frontier in Washington, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York state.
Bob Wright, director of New Mexico’s Minutemen group, said patrollers had been on duty less than 30 minutes Saturday when they alerted Border Patrol to the first group of illegal aliens — seven people — trying to enter the U.S.
Don Goldwater, a Republican candidate for governor and nephew of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, was among the politicians and activists at a rally Saturday of at least 200 mostly older men and women at a remote southern Arizona ranch.
“Build us that wall — now!” Goldwater said, referring to a measure to add 700 miles of fences along the border.
Since Oct. 1, agents have caught more than 48,000 in the area patrolled now by the Minutemen, an increase of 48 percent over the same period last year.
(Posted on April 4, 2006)