When you first meet Cliff Milburn, you think of Santa Claus. The 70-year-old Milburn has a long, white beard, and a little twinkle in his eye, like a tall, lanky St. Nick.
And like Santa Claus, Milburn thinks it's better to give than to receive.
Except Milburn is not talking about Christmas presents.
He believes America should give all the illegal immigrants back to their home countries, and not receive any more.
Oops. Did I say immigrants?
"Do not use immigrants," Milburn says. "They're illegal aliens. They are not immigrants."
Milburn is concerned about the impact the sheer number of illegals is having, and will have, on the United States in the coming years.
Atop his 1990 Toyota Land Cruiser sits a big sign reading: "No illegals left behind. Deport Œem."
Milburn's traveling companion while tooling around in the Toyota is a tiny fur ball of a Pomeranian named Foxy. He says the sign draws a lot of attention. Last week, the driver's side door was stained because someone hurled a milkshake at it.
The Toyota has more than 474,000 miles on it, many of them racked up as Milburn drives to the Mexico-New Mexico border to do observations with other Minutemen.
Milburn is the New Mexico Chapter Leader of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and says the group does nothing but observe and report. "We sit back about six to 10 miles from the border with our lawn chairs," Milburn says. "One time we saw five different groups crossing. Other times we'll sit there for 10 hours and not see anything. If we see anything, we call the Border Patrol."
Sometimes Milburn will cook up a carrot cake or a green chile stew to serve to his cohorts.
He says the Border Patrol credits the Minutemen with reducing illegal entries and drug trafficking by 20 percent.
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