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Through the years politicians, lawyers and advocacy groups have overseen the implementation of policies that grant illegal aliens more rights to sneak into the country than rights given to Border Patrol agents charged with keeping them out. Needless to say, that has led to a level of frustration, anger and resentment within BP ranks that is virtually unparalleled in terms of federal service.

This month, however, a fortunate few of them have been given a temporary reprieve, and receiving much-needed assistance to do the jobs they were trained and hired to do. Agents posted along a portion of the Arizona-Mexico border near Naco have witnessed the deployment of dozens of civilian volunteers, whose April 1-30 mission is to help staunch the flow of illegal aliens from south of the border.

The volunteers are quick to note they’re not there because the Border Patrol can’t do it’s job. They know, for example, that there isn’t anyone – except maybe the Coast Guard and the Marine Corps – who can do as much with so few and so little.

No, the volunteers came because they know how serious the illegal immigration problem has become. And they know the Border Patrol can use the help.

In case you haven’t heard, this little operation is called the “Minuteman Project” and its organizers – James Gilchrist and Chris Simcox – say the Arizona effort is just the beginning. They want to expand their horizons to include protests, rallies and more border deployments, all in an effort to assist the Border Patrol and bring attention to the problem of porous borders – which is unacceptable in a time of terrorism.

If you have heard of this group, chances are it has been in a negative context. Unfortunately the card-carrying American Civil Liberties Union types, biased media editorialists and immigrant “rights” groups have put forth the nothing these volunteers are little more than bigoted vigilantes armed to the teeth, waiting to blast every border jumper they see into Kingdom Come.

The truth is much stranger than the fiction, however, and none of those accusations are true. But don’t believe me. U.S. Border Patrol agents themselves are fawning in their praise of these individuals and the effort they are putting forth.

In interviews, agents decry the “official” line from bosses in D.C., which has generally been negative, as inaccurate. They say they’ve not encountered any problems from the Minutemen, and that the volunteers are helping them thwart illegal incursions, at least in the areas they are present.

Finally, they say they appreciate the help.

“You know, it is only the brass and D.C. that feel the Minutemen are not wanted,” one Border Patrol agent told me. “I reached out with a lot of the line agents and they all love them.”

Another says most colleagues agree the Minutemen are doing good work. Noting agents “appreciate what they are trying to accomplish,” he added that “agents on the line … are Americans who want to secure the sovereignty of the United States, our language and culture.

“We Border Patrol agents may work for the U.S. government, but we are Americans first – fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends – members of the community, then we are citizens of the United States, then we are federal employees,” the agent continued.

Finally, Border Patrol union website Local 2544, encompassing the Tucson, Ariz. area – a hotbed of illegal immigration activity – proudly and publicly stated:

We have not had one single complaint from a rank-and-file agent in this sector about the Minutemen. Every report we’ve received indicates these people are very supportive of the rank-and-file agents, they’re courteous, many of them are retired firefighters, cops and other professionals, and they’re not causing us any problems whatsoever.

Yet this support is being criticized and hijacked, mostly by people who ought to know better – and would, if they spent any time in the shoes of a Border Patrol agent or a Minuteman volunteer.

The real shame is not so much that these volunteers are giving up their own time and money to help defend our borders. It’s not so much that the effort highlights the government’s hypocrisy in pledging to protect our borders while giving the professionals charged with doing it few legal and practical tools with which to complete their mission.

No, the real shame is that there are Americans finding fault with the effort.

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