More than 500 additional Border Patrol agents are being assigned to beef up patrols along the Arizona-Mexico border, reports the Arizona Republic. That news comes shortly before civilian volunteers, calling themselves the Minuteman Project, are to begin their own monthlong patrols for immigrants crossing the border. Organizers have said they expect at least 1,000 people to participate. The federal Customs and Border Protection says the additions are part of Phase II of the Arizona Border Control Initiative. Along with trying to stem the tide of illegal immigration, the aim of the initiative is to reduce smuggling and other criminal border activity and to cut the number of migrant deaths.
FBI officials have acknowledged that al Qaeda or other terrorists groups could infiltrate the United States by way of its 1,950-mile border with Mexico. A known terrorist route into the United States crosses the roughly 350-mile stretch of the border Arizona and Mexico share. The added 500 agents are on top of an estimated 2,400 agents already patrolling that part of the border.