CRS Report for Congress: Civilian Patrols Along the Border: Legal and Policy Issues: April 7, 2006 - RL33353

 
9781295254125: CRS Report for Congress: Civilian Patrols Along the Border: Legal and Policy Issues: April 7, 2006 - RL33353

Civilian patrols along the international border have existed in a wide variety of forms for at least 150 years. Over the past 15 years, civilian border patrol groups appear to have proliferated along the U.S.-Mexico border, partly due to the increasing numbers of aliens entering the country illegally. In the spring of 2005, attention focused on these civilian patrols, when the "Minuteman Project" mobilized hundreds of volunteers along the Arizona-Mexico border to observe and report the movement of illegal aliens to the U.S. Border Patrol. Although some participants were armed, Minutemen volunteers were instructed not to engage in hostile confrontations with any illegal alien. Organizers of the Minuteman Project have expanded the Project to the other southwestern border states and Canada and have split the mission into a border defense corps and an internal vigilance operation that monitors businesses and government. A new nationwide Minuteman Project began in April 2006. The activities of the Minutemen sparked a national debate on the legality and effectiveness of such civilian action along the border. Some questioned, for instance, the authority that allows civilians to undertake immigration-related enforcement activities and the legal status of a volunteer (i.e., private vs. federal actor). Others suggested that ...

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