By Selene Rivera
What has been a celebration commemorating Mexican independence for almost two centuries, will now also be a day of “liberation” for the Friends of the Border Patrol, FBP, which has chosen the 16th of September to begin patrolling the Mexican-U.S. border in California as part of a campaign to stop illegal immigration into the United States.
With close to 800 volunteers ready to patrol the border, and the possibility that their numbers could swell to 3,000, the Friends of the Border Patrol have chosen the day on which Mexicans declared their independence from Spain to send a message from the American people: “enough is enough.”
Currently, the controversial anti-immigrant group, the Minutemen, are patrolling part of the same stretch of the border, and earlier this year the group patrolled a portion of the U.S-Mexico border in Arizona which, according to published reports, resulted in fewer illegal border crossings while they were present.
The civilian border watchers will become the eyes and ears of the border patrol, stated Andy Ramirez, the director of FBP. “We will help protect the nation from the threat of terrorism,” Ramirez said.
“There are those who say the undocumented come across the border to work, but not all of them do it for that reason. The 9-11 attacks in New York were a call to this country, and the recent attacks in London are, for us, a reminder that we need to act,” stated Ramirez. “We don’t know who is entering our nation, and we must protect it,” he added.
During the interview, Ramirez blamed the Mexican government for illegal immigration to the United States, and said that the undocumented arrive in the United States to work for miserable wages.
But Ramirez maintained that the United States is also responsible for the high numbers of illegal crossings, saying that the U.S. government policy of not implementing stricter reforms deserves much of the blame.
Asked why September 16 was chosen as the start date for FBP patrols along the border, Ramirez said the date was chosen in order to send a strong message: “It is time for Mexico to reform its nation and its economy,” he said.
According to the Friends of the Border Patrol’s director, on September 16 Americans will be able to declare their independence from the low-wage workers that are exploited at the expense of unemployed American citizens that previously held those jobs.
The decision to delay the start of the patrols, which was originally scheduled to begin August 1, was made to give FBP volunteers a chance to continue their exhaustive training in proper conduct and actions during the patrols.
“The volunteers of this organization are currently training physically and learning how to deal with any undocumented immigrant they may encounter, as well as preparing for the threat of snakes and dehydration,” said Ramirez.
FBP, clarified the director, also plans to expand their border patrols to include the Canadian border. “It is not simply about dealing with the undocumented immigrants that cross the border on the southern portion of the country; we are also contemplating the possibility of patrolling the Canadian border,” he said.
Ramirez maintained that the exact locations of the patrols along the Mexican border with California would not be made public, nor would they announce when the patrols would end, for the “safety of the operation.”
What we do know, however, is that the 16th of September will not only be a big day for Mexicans, but also for members of Friends of the Border Patrol and most likely for the Minutemen as they continue their patrol of the border, which according to Minutemen spokesperson James Cash, is supposed to conclude on August 7. Cash, adds, however, that in October the Minutemen and other anti-immigrant groups will plan to expand their patrols to cover the entire expanse of the U.S.-Mexican border.
Reprinted from Eastern Group Publications, East Los Angeles