Minuteman project begins recruiting volunteers to patrol San Diego border

SAN DIEGO - Amid the surge of migrants from Central America, a longtime Minutemen leader is issuing a call to remobilize citizen patrols at sites like the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego.

10News was in Campo in 2005 as immigrant rights activists squared off with a Minuteman group that was beginning patrols at the border. The group was inspired by the Minuteman Project in Arizona, led by Jim Gilchrist.

In 2010, Gilchrist shut down his last patrol amid waning interest and a jump in the hiring of Border Patrol agents.

Now, he's issuing for the volunteers to remobilize.

"I see this as a tsunami of endless flow of people from all over the world," said Gilchrist.

Frustrated by the influx of undocumented immigrants from Central America, Gilchrist has called for at least 3,500 people to help him man the border during the month of May 2015, from San Diego to Texas.

He'll target the porous spots, and in San Diego, he believes he could need up to 2,000 people. The volunteers, some will be armed, will be asked to observe and report.

The Minuteman project plan comes as a Texas militia group moves forward with its own patrols.

"The more of us that go to the border, we will attract the attention of Congress," said Gilchrist.

Immigrant rights activists call the return of patrols a bad idea.

Pedro Rios of the American Friends Service Committee has documented the stories of numerous local migrants, including several shot by unknown members of a Minuteman group a decade ago.

"I think it's a dangerous strategy. Vigilantism has never worked. It places too many people at risk," said Rios.

"If they want to join me at the border, I have one expectation: they stay within the rule of law," said Gilchrist.

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