Just as the border patrol arrests at the Mexican border are reported to have jumped 78 percent in November compared to a year ago, the San Diego Mountain Minutemen militia vows it will continue to stand guard.
68-year-old Robert Crooks says he normally sleeps during the day. At night, when smugglers try to get drugs or migrants into the US, he wants to be alert.
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The border fence at Campo, California, is in some places only 2 meters high. On that mountain there, Mr Brooks points to a bush in the distance where Mexican smugglers are on the lookout so that their companions can see when the American border guards are no longer there. He stands at Patriot Point, as Crooks has called this windy hill.
He is the foreman of the Mountain Minutemen: a civil guard militia at the border near San Diego, not far from the Mexican city of Tijuana, where thousands of migrants have arrived with various caravans from Central America.
Mr Crooks has been keeping a watch here for thirteen years now. Often alone, but ever since the migrant caravan news became in the US, he has been joined by more men who wanted to prevent the Hondurans and Salvadorians from sneaking into the US without being seen. Last month, he was joined by Dan Russell, a retired fireman from San Diego, and Terry Marshall, a pensioner who came all the way from Iowa.
"Because look around you," says Mr Marshall. “Do you see any border control?''
A moment later appears in the arid void one of the white cars of the police, but that cannot keep the nearly 3,100 km long American southern border watertight.
And so, the three men on the hill search for intruders themselves. Mr Crooks says the Central Americans are like invaders, as if an army invasion is coming. "Because they are an army. It is a barefoot invasion of our country. Mexico has offered them to stay there, and they refuse."
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Mr Crooks only sees 'young men of military age'. He speaks of 'cockroaches' whilst his colleague Marshall says he does not want to demonize the migrants, but admits that border crossers are “in any way criminal, that's in their heart.”'
Department of Homeland Security
Meanwhile Ms Katie Waldman, a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, admitted the jump in November arrests and thus also the number of border crossers, stating the numbers "are the predictable result of a broken immigration system including flawed judicial rulings that usurps the will of the American people who have repeatedly demanded secure borders."
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