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Immigrant says he was forced to pose for photo
Thursday, April 7, 2005 Posted: 10:32 AM EDT (1432 GMT)
TUCSON, Arizona (AP) -- Three volunteers patrolling the border for illegal immigrants were being investigated after a man told authorities he was held against his will and forced to pose for a picture holding a T-shirt with a mocking slogan.
The volunteers said they were members of the Minuteman Project -- a monthlong effort that has people from around the country fanned out along the border to report undocumented migrants and smugglers. Law enforcement officials have said they fear the project will lead to vigilante violence.
Border Patrol agents called in deputies from the Cochise County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday afternoon to report that an immigrant was detained by three men who identified themselves as project volunteers.
Carol Capas, a sheriff's office spokeswoman, said the 26-year-old Mexican man told agents he was physically restrained and forced to hold a shirt while his picture was taken and he was videotaped.
Barton is one of the three volunteers. He told agents that they waved the man over to them, offered him food and water, and gave him the T-shirt and money before the Border Patrol arrived.
"All they did was provide water and wait for the Border Patrol," Minuteman spokesman Grey Deacon said. "What's the big deal?"
The Mexican man remained in custody Thursday and will be going through formal proceedings to send him back to his country, Border Patrol spokeswoman Andrea Zortman said.