Border watchThe issue of illegal immigration seems to have evaporated from the national news recently. But one committed group of citizens in particular remain focused on the problem. The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) describe themselves as a neighbourhood watch program for the border, and their month-long October operation is in full swing. With millions of illegal immigrants entering the United States, primarily by crossing its border with Mexico, the mission of this group is to do what the U.S. government has neglected to do: secure the border, using volunteer citizens. This month, MCDC volunteers are stationed along approximately 800 miles of international borders around the clock in an effort to curb illegal immigration.

I have to say I’m impressed with the effectiveness of this group’s efforts. I won’t go into the silly controversies about the group here (for example charges of racism, vigilantism, etc.) – the claims against the MCDC are unfounded. In an ideal world, immigration would be free and easy. Unfortunately we do not live in such a world, and the combination of a welfare state here in America and the threat of international terrorism makes it a fundamental duty of the government to secure the borders of this country, a task they’ve carried out inadequately. Even if we were able to create a truly libertarian society here in the United States overnight, that libertarian society would still need to be protected. That alone makes the mission of the MCDC a useful one.

Some facts from their website: the group has around 7000 volunteers in total, they’ve reported a total of over 30,000 illegal border crossers and have helped apprehend over 13,000 of them. Their mile-long private fence along property bordering Mexico has become a model for the kind of fence the U.S. federal government has now committed to building across the entire U.S.-Mexico border, beginning in 2008 (a project which began with an ultimatum issued to President Bush by the MCDC).

The group’s president and founder Chris Simcox joined me by phone on my KLPZ radio show some weeks ago, and I asked him about the operations of the organisation. Simcox has since invited me to come down to a live operation on the border, an invitation I’m keen to accept and report on at some point for both radio and web. Listen to the entire interview here, or, even better, subscribe to the podcast.