From The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Gold Hat: Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!
Intent on securing the vulnerable Arizona border from illegal immigrant crossings, U.S. officials are bracing for what they call a potential new threat this spring: the Minutemen.
Nearly 500 volunteers have already joined the Minuteman Project, anointing themselves civilian border patrol agents determined to stop the immigration flow that routinely, and easily, seeps past federal authorities. They plan to patrol a 40-mile stretch of the southeast Arizona border throughout April when the tide of immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border peaks.
“I felt the only way to get something done was to do it yourself,” said Jim Gilchrist, a retired accountant and decorated Vietnam War veteran who is helping recruit Minutemen across the country.
“We’ve been repeatedly accused of being people who are taking the law into our own hands,” said Gilchrist, 56, of Aliso Viejo, Calif. “That is an outright bogus statement. We are going down there to assist law enforcement.”
Officials fear the Minuteman patrols could cause more trouble than they prevent. At least some of the volunteers plan to arm themselves during the 24-hour desert patrols. Many are untrained and have little or no experience in confronting illegal border crossings.
“Any time there are firearms and you’re out in the middle of no-man’s land in difficult terrain, it’s a dangerous setting,” said Bonner, whose agency is keeping a close eye on the Minutemen plans.
It may also prove to be a magnet for what Glenn Spencer, president of the private American Border Patrol, described as camouflage-wearing, weapons-toting hard-liners who might get a little carried away with their assignments.
“How are they going to keep the nutcases out of there? They can’t control that,” said Spencer, whose 40-volunteer group, based in Hereford, Ariz., has used unmanned aerial vehicles and other high-tech equipment to track and report the number of border crossings for more than two years.
Great, just what we need – a bunch of Elmer Fudds keeping watch on the border. The biggest danger to the illegals will be that they will die from laughing.