U. S. Tipping Mexico to Minuteman Patrols
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While Minuteman civilian patrols are keeping an eye out for illegal border crossers, the U.S. Border Patrol is keeping an eye out for Minutemen — and telling the Mexican government where they are.
According to three documents on the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Web site, the U.S. Border Patrol is to notify the Mexican government as to the location of Minutemen and other civilian border patrol groups when they participate in apprehending illegal immigrants — and if and when violence is used against border crossers.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman confirmed the notification process, describing it as a standard procedure meant to reassure the Mexican government that migrants’ rights are being observed.
“It’s not a secret where the Minuteman volunteers are going to be,” Mario Martinez said Monday.
“This … simply makes two basic statements — that we will not allow any lawlessness of any type, and that if an alien is encountered by a Minuteman or arrested by the Minuteman, then we will allow that government to interview the person.”
Minuteman members were not so sanguine about the arrangement, however, saying that reporting their location to Mexican officials nullifies their effectiveness along the border and could endanger their lives.
“Now we know why it seemed like Mexican officials knew where we were all the time,” said Chris Simcox, founder of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. “It’s unbelievable that our own government agency is sending intelligence to another country. They are sending intelligence to a nation where corruption runs rampant, and that could be getting into the hands of criminal cartels.
“They just basically endangered the lives of American people.”
Border Patrol agents interviewed by the Daily Bulletin said they have been asked to report to sector headquarters the location of all civilian volunteer groups, but to not file the groups’ names in reports if they spot illegal immigrants.
“Last year an internal memo notified all agents not to give credit to Minuteman volunteers or others who call in sightings of illegal aliens,” said one agent, who spoke on the condition he not be identified. “We were told to list it as a citizen call and leave it at that. Many times, we were told not to go out to Minuteman calls.”
The document also mentions locations of field operations of Friends of the Border Patrol, which patrolled the San Diego sector from June to November 2005. Mexican officials had access to the exact location of the group founded by Andy Ramirez, which ran its patrols from the Rough Acre Ranch, a private property in McCain Valley.
Ramirez said that for safety reasons, he disclosed the location of his ranch patrol only to San Diego Border Patrol and law enforcement officials. The group did not apprehend or spot any undocumented migrants in that area.
“We did not release this information … to the media or anyone else,” Ramirez said. “We didn’t want to publicize that information. But there it is, right on the Mexican government’s Web site, and our government gave it to them.”
(Posted on May 9, 2006)