Although last year's project was peaceful, the Minutemen were criticized as "vigilantes."
President Bush, who favors a guest worker program that would allow illegal immigrants already holding jobs in the United States to stay, denounced "vigilantism" last year, without referring to any group in particular. This year he has said nothing so far.
The American Civil Liberties Union has also returned to the border to keep an eye on the Minutemen. "We're not necessarily opposed to the actions of the Minutemen to express themselves and to engage in what they call political protest," Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union-Arizona, told The Associated Press.
"It's where they have the potential of taking actions and enforcing immigration laws or attempting to enforce immigration laws that's troubling," she said.
Meanwhile, the Border Patrol has again remained neutral. "We neither support them nor oppose them," spokesman Gus Soto told The Associated Press. "But we do have concerns with any civilian patrols or groups out there," he added.