So there is a new volunteer border patrol organization in Arizona calling themselves "The Minutemen". They apparently became officially active yesterday, so they've been in the news.
They were talking about them on CSPAN this morning, and people who thought it was a bad idea were nearly hysterical, calling them armed loonies and whatnot.
So I went to their official site and read their FAQ
So according to their site, here's how they work:
Volunteers, in groups of four to eight persons, will set up observation posts and also walk patrols in areas known to be pathways of illegal entry into the US. At least one person with prior experience will accompany these observation posts. Some of these posts and patrols will be right on the US-Mexico border, or within several hundred yards of it.
Other observation points will be two miles or more north of the border. The locations will vary, depending on intelligence reports that the MMProject will gather prior to, and during, the April mission.
When intruders are spotted, USBP agents will be summoned by cell phone. The MMProject communication center should also be notified at this time via cell phone or pre-established short wave radio systems that will be available on April 1. The intruders will be followed until USBP shows up to intercept and apprehend them.
No "hostile" confrontation with intruders will be allowed. The MMProject participants will only "spot and report", the USBP takes it from there.
If the intruders move through your ranks, you let them pass. You may continue to follow them and provide USBP and the MMProject communication center with updates of the location of the intruders. You do not threaten them in any manner. If they are in need of food or water, you may provide some. If they are in need of medical attention, you inform USBP of their need for medical attention. Under no circumstances are you to engage in argumentative or hostile confrontation with any illegal alien. You back off, and let the USBP properly conduct the interception and apprehension of the illegal aliens.
If you are susceptible to "road rage", or "hot temper" syndromes, then this volunteer work is not for you. Any such acts will seriously jeopardize the goal of the MMProject and bring unwanted ridicule to its efforts to assist the USBP. It will also prevent the MMProject from sending a mature and sincere message to Washington that Americans want their immigration laws "enforced".
Remember, we are there to "assist" law enforcement in the conduct of their jobs, not to take the law into our own hands. A violation of this standard could easily result in your arrest for alleged kidnapping. This is a very sensitive issue and you are earnestly warned NOT to interfere with the movement of illegal aliens other than to observe and report their location to USBP.
The MMproject communication center will document all reports of illegal alien sightings and how the USBP responded to the "spotters" call for assistance. The results of these reports and how law enforcement responded to them will be provided to the public and all media representatives who want that information.
Various members of the media may be present to report to their respective print or broadcast medium. Also, many volunteers will be equipped with still and video cameras to also record these events on film.
Sounds reasonable to me.
One of the objections raised by a caller on CSPAN this morning was that this wasn't going to solve the problem of illegal immigration. Well, that's not their direct goal.
According to their website, their mission is to:
...to bring national attention to the fact that the U. S. Federal Government is not fulfilling its mission to protect American citizens from the economic and physical danger of porous borders.
Sounds like a good form of activism. From what I understand, our border patrol is still woefully understaffed, underfunded, and undertrained. If this project draws attention to that situation and helps to improve funding via Congress, while reporting illegal crossings in the meantime, more power to them.