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The Minuteman Project in Arizona announced yesterday it will expand its operations, putting pressure on employers of illegals and setting up civilian border watches in four states.
Project spokesman Grey Deacon told WorldNetDaily the operation has been flooded with calls and e-mails from thousands of citizens across the country volunteering to serve.
Currently hundreds of volunteers, many legally carrying guns and waving flags, are keeping watch around the clock until the end of the month along a 23-mile stretch of border. The volunteers reportedly are intimidating illegal aliens with their presence and alerting the Border Patrol via cell phones or radios when they see people crossing.
Deacon said that with about 15,000 citizens saying they want to serve, the “Civilian Homeland Defense,” as the group calls it, plans to return in October “across the entire southern border, if the politicians are unable to do the very basic thing that we’ve already proved can be done.”
Deacon said the project also will “expand into America itself” to pressure the businesses that employ illegal workers, utilizing picketing, an advertising campaign and contact with businesses and their communities.
The citizens volunteering are exceptionally enthusiastic, Deacon said, overwhelming the project’s two phone lines. Some people said they tried four or five hours a day for several days to reach the Tombstone, Ariz., office.
“This is fun,” said Deacon, who promised many more phone lines to accommodate the surge. “This is the first time in nearly 40 years that the American people have stepped foward and said, ‘This is exciting, this is what I want to be involved in. My voice, at last, is being heard as I stand as a Minuteman.'”
Over the first weekend, most of the volunteers were senior citizens, he said, followed the second weekend by moms and dads in their 40s and 50s. But now it’s young people, in the 18-30 age group.
They come from all across the country, Deacon said, driving more than 15 hours each way in some cases.
The young volunteers who come for the weekend spend four hours in training, work a double eight-hour shift, then drive home, he said, noting that before leaving, “they would thank us for the opportunity to serve their nation.”
“Something is happening in America, and I think it’s the most wonderful thing in the world,” said Deacon. “People are saying, at least we can dream again. We have something to talk about instead of the latest sitcom.”
Politicians are getting the message, Deacon said, as people tell their representatives, “Until you do the job, we won’t give you any more money.”
The demand is simple, he said: “Close down the borders. Return respect to the United States of America as a nation. Make sure that the world stops laughing at us as we undergo a nightly unarmed invasion from Mexico.”
Deacon insists they simply are following President Bush’s exhortation in his State of the Union address, when he said, “I call on all citizens to be vigilent and report any activity to the nearest authority.”
“We’re going to keep doing it until the borders are secure,” Deacon said.
The project has received about 20 letters from longtime Republican Party donors, including one who has given for 40 years, but says, “I will no longer continue giving to the party, candidates, organizations or campaigns and instead will direct my donations to Civilian Homeland Defense until such time as the Republican Party is able to close these borders.”
The project leaders also are starting to hear from citizens and entities concerned about the northern border’s vulnerability to terrorists, along with port cities and even states in the nation’s interior.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the ACLU has sent representatives to Arizona to monitor the Minutemen and report any civil-liberties abuses to authorities. Instead, said Deacon, the law group’s people are flashing lights, sounding horns and warning off illegals and their “coyote” human smugglers from entering territory patrolled by the volunteers. Deacon claims such activity amounts to aiding and abetting illegal aliens.
Yesterday, the largest local union of Border Patrol agents in the country declared its support for the project.
Deacon said he highly respects the “brave, dedicated” employees of the Border Patrol.
“All of them have lost comrades to hostile fire while they’ve been out trying to protect our borders,” he said. “I have nothing but the highest regard for them. They should be awarded military ribbons for the duty they do. We want to get them adequate funding for personnel and equipment.”