Border Clash

Private citizens are deputizing themselves as border patrollers to capture illegal aliens pouring across from Mexico in record numbers

A few years back, when Mexicans would stagger out of the desert onto Helen Hoffman's cattle ranch, her family would set up a card table for the parched visitors and give them gallons of water, grub and maybe a few days' work. But not anymore. Every morning now, when her husband Robert checks the cattle on their 500-acre spread near the border at Douglas, Ariz., he sees "heads poppin' up all over in the mesquite bushes," says Helen. Several times, bands of illegal immigrants tried to steal their pick-up and break into the Hoffmans' house under the tall cottonwoods.

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