information] simply makes two basic statements -- that we will not allow any lawlessness of any type, and that if an alien is encountered by a Minuteman or arrested by the Minuteman, then we will allow that government to interview the person."
Minuteman members were not so sanguine about the arrangement, however, saying that reporting their location to Mexican officials nullifies their effectiveness along the border and could endanger their lives.
"Now we know why it seemed like Mexican officials knew where we were all the time," said Chris Simcox, founder of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. "It's unbelievable that our own government agency is sending intelligence to another country.
It is reported that officials with the Mexican consulate in Washington, D.C., could not be reached for comment.
Information obtained include an August 2005 document titled "Third Report on the Activities of Vigilantes," posted on Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Relations Web site, suggesting U.S. officials were giving out more details than required by the Vienna Convention. Part of the information included reports on activities in the interior of the U.S. in Illinois, Nevada, Utah, Massachusetts and Tennessee.
Meanwhile, with all this evidence, the new statement by the Border Patrol officially denies any such cooperative activity with the Mexican government, giving no explanation as to why the U.S. Border Patrol initially confirmed its actions in the earlier report as a "cooperative agreement" with Mexico. Mexico's official perception of our civilian groups is that they are vigilantes a term the Border Patrol has used.
TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing more than 10,000 Border Patrol agents, said agents have complained for years about the Mexican consulate's influence over the agency.
"It worries me (that the Mexican government) seems to be unduly influencing our enforcement policies. That's not a legitimate role for any foreign nation," Bonner said, though he added, "It doesn't surprise me."
Border Patrol agents interviewed by the Daily Bulletin said they have been asked to report to sector headquarters the location of all civilian volunteer groups, but to not file the groups' names in reports if they spot illegal immigrants.
An internal memo also mentions locations of field operations of Friends of the Border Patrol, which patrolled the San Diego sector from June to November 2005. Mexican officials had access to the exact location of the group founded by Andy Ramirez, which ran its patrols from the Rough Acre Ranch, a private property in McCain Valley.
Ramirez said that for safety reasons, he disclosed the location of his ranch patrol only to San Diego Border Patrol and law enforcement officials. The group did not apprehend or spot any undocumented migrants in that area.
"We did not release this information ... to the media or anyone else," Ramirez said. "We didn't want to publicize that information. But there it is, right on the Mexican government's Web site, and our government gave it to them."
Chris Simcox said "It now appears the U.S. government has taken steps to ensure that the open border status quo is maintained. Even if we take the latest statement from the Border Patrol denying involvement as truth, at best the report on the Mexican Consulate Web site exposes widespread espionage and systematic spying against free, law-abiding American citizens on the part of the Mexican government - with or without U.S. government assistance."