Mexican Military Not Helping Illegals, Mexican Embassy Says

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

( - The Embassy of Mexico has issued a statement "firmly" denying allegations that Mexican Army troops are helping would-be border-crossers avoid areas where American "vigilante groups" are located.

"There are no military personnel performing this type of activity at the border, let alone in the Sonora-Arizona area," the embassy said on Wednesday.

The Mexican Embassy said a group of public security officials called Grupo Beta is the only group helping to "protect migrants." There are no military personnel involved in this group, the embassy said.

Grupo Beta's objectives include "the protection and the defense of the human rights of migrants, as well as their personal safety, regardless of their nationality; the fight against crime, in collaboration with competent authorities; and rescue and aid missions for migrants who find themselves in dangerous situations," the statement said.

The embassy noted that "freedom of movement in national territory is a Constitutional right," and therefore, the Mexican Army does not involve itself in cases involving "the displacement of individuals."

The Mexican Army is in the Mexican State of Sonora to destroy illegal drug crops and fight drug traffickers, the statement said.

The Mexican Embassy said it issued the statement because of erroneous allegations made by some media outlets.

The Minuteman project, an all-volunteer citizen effort to guard a 20-mile stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border, has been successful on several counts, a U.S. lawmaker said this week.

Not only have the volunteers slowed the influx of illegal aliens, but they have also focused public attention on what Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Co.) called the "deplorable and unacceptable conditions on our borders."

Rep. Tancredo is among those who have said the Mexican military is helping Mexican citizens avoid the Minutemen. He said that proves the Mexican government could stop the flow of illegals into the U.S. if it chose to do so.

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