NACO, Ariz. - President George Bush faced increasing criticism on the second day of the Minuteman Project when 150 people showed support for the U.S. Border Patrol.
Project volunteers lined and walked along Naco Highway on Saturday near where the Border Patrol's Naco Station is located.
Many had homemade signs presenting the discontent they have with the top elected leader in the United States.
"If Bush did his job, we would not be here," one sign stated.
"It's a sad day when seniors have to do the job 'W' and Congress won't," stated a sign carried by a white-haired woman.
"You want our votes? Enforce Immigration laws!," another placard said.
"President Bush we are not vigilantes. We are your former silent majority," a sign proclaimed in response to the president calling Minuteman Project volunteers vigilantes.
The president is accused of being the front for Mexican President Vicente Fox, who many volunteers believe is seeking to flood the United States with illegal immigrants from Mexico.
One man yelled out "stooge" when describing Bush's support of a new immigration policy that Fox wants.
Fox is seen as pushing Bush by some of the volunteers. That sentiment was expressed by a sign stating: "Look behind that Bush, there's a Fox."
Some volunteers brought state flags - 19 banners from different states were seen.
For Scott Smith, of Annapolis, Md., the influx of illegal immigrants is hurting him financially. A small businessman who is involved in real estate and construction, he has seen his bids lose to other companies who he knows uses cheaper illegal workers.
When he heard of the Minuteman Project, Smith said he had to find out for himself exactly how porous is the border with Mexico.
That led him to sign up to be a volunteer. He is willing to stay in Cochise County for two weeks.
While Smith has yet to begin patrolling, he hopes to start by Monday.
"I consider myself a moderate, a middle-of-the road person," he said.
But the number of illegal immigrants entering America's workplace is economically harming the Smith family, he said.
Standing by his state's flag, Smith said contractors in Maryland who employ illegal immigrants are better able to make lower bids.
That hurts businesspeople who obey the law by not hiring illegal immigrants as well as American workers who can't find jobs, he said.
Those who do use workers in the country illegally "do it to be more competitive," Smith said.
The problem is bad now, and he expects it to get worse.
For Donald Sullivan of Wallace, N.C., his home state has one of the largest illegal immigrant population in the nation, with 90 percent of the 600,000 illegals from Mexico. In the school district serving Wallace, 71 percent of the students are Hispanic, he said.
"The government has to enforce the law," Sullivan said. "But the federal government is supporting the invasion."
It is time to bring back National Guard and reservists from places such as Iraq and put them on the border with Mexico, Sullivan said.
Bush and other federal leaders are violating the Constitution by sending Guard and reserve forces overseas because they are designed to remain in the country to protect the nation, he said.
There were a few signs of displeasure against the volunteers, who began arriving in Cochise County Friday, registering in Tombstone. One woman drove by and showed her discontent with a thumbs down action. Another man yelled from his car, "We're all immigrants." A carload of people shouted out in unison, "Go home."
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said the first two days of the project have been calm. He hopes the rest of April will be the same.
He has informed the organizers that he will not tolerate any violations of state law from the volunteers or those who opposed the project. Hopefully, the sheriff said, no fringe players who show up and cause problems.
On Friday and Saturday, Dever watched events in Tombstone and near the Border Patrol station.
"I'm just trying to get a sense of the atmosphere and culture," he said.
There have been small encounters but nothing serious, Dever said. He likened the minor conflicts to overly emotional yelling matches found at a sporting event.
While Dever is pleased that nothing serious has happened, he and his department will monitor every public event.
"We will be clearly engaged," the sheriff said.
Jim Gilchrist, one of the co-organizers of the Minuteman Project, also showed up at the Naco station rally.
"We're going to be here for 30 days, and we want to do it in a peaceful and respectful manner," he said.
I live in this area and yesterday I saw more state police, sherrifs and border patrol than I can ever recall.