Local members of an illegal immigration watchdog group picketed the Statehouse Friday, calling their display of flag-waving, sign-holding and in some instances, costume-wearing, a response to the Mexican national holiday of Cinco de Mayo.
Members of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps have patrolled the southern border and parts of the border with Canada for illegal immigrants.
The group recently announced plants to expand its patrols to New Hampshire's northern border.
Friday, about a dozen Minutemen took their cause to state capitol, a day before the May 5 holiday that commemorates a Mexican military victory. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become an unofficial day to celebrate Mexican culture with food and drink.
But Ron Oplinus, director of the Minutemen's New Hampshire chapter, said he was in no mood to party.
"It's a serious problem," he said. "It's not an easy problem, but we are losing this country. They don't want to become American citizens. They want to reclaim the southern states for Mexico."
Oplinus, of Exeter, said he spent about a month organizing the lunchtime rally. He said it also was a response to pro-immigration rallies held across the country earlier in the week.
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