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Citizen border patrol group to build security fence on US-Mexico border

[JURIST] The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps [advocacy website], a private organization of volunteers who patrol US borders, said Thursday that they would begin building a security fence [press release] on land owned by supporters along the US-Mexico border if President Bush doesn't direct the government to do so. The debate on immigration reform [JURIST news archive] is expected to be an important issue [JURIST report] when Congress reconvenes on April 25. Disagreements over the scope of new immigration legislation stalled measures [JURIST report] in the Senate before the break. In December, the House of Representative passed [JURIST report] its version of the border security bill [HR 4437], which includes plans to build a security fence across 621 miles of the US-Mexico border.

Six landowners in Arizona have offered to support the venture, and others in California, Texas, and New Mexico are also on board. The federal government owns most of the land directly on the border, however, so the group's construction can't be a complete solution. The group instead hopes to show the government that a fence is effective and economical. AP has more.

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