03/31/2005

Mexico Sends Additional Agents to Border with Arizona On Eve of Volunteer Patrols

The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY, Mexico - Mexico announced Wednesday it has sent additional migrant-aid agents to the border with Arizona, in advance of volunteer patrols by U.S. anti-immigration activists expected to start Friday.

The aim of the mobilization is to help any migrants who could conceivable be injured or harmed along the border; Mexico has accused the volunteer patrols of "vigilanteism" and warned it will pursue legal complaints against any illegal detentions of migrants.

"We have increased the presence of the Grupo Beta and increased the presence of National Immigration Institute personnel," said Armando Salinas, Mexico's assistant interior secretary.

Grupo Beta agents are trained to assist migrants on the Mexican side of the border.

On Friday, hundreds of U.S. volunteers, some of them armed, are expected to begin patrolling Arizona border areas for illegal immigrants, an exercise some fear could attract racist crackpots and lead to vigilante violence.

Organizers of the Minuteman Project said the civilian volunteers will watch the border for a month and report sightings of illegal activity to Border Patrol agents.

Mexico's official Human Rights Commission also said Wednesday it will ask the U.S. government to prevent the civilian patrols.

"This serves as a cover for xenophobic and racist practices," commission president Jose Luis Soberanes said of the patrols.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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