The symbolism of the event was stark. There have been rallies in other major AZ cities such as Phoenix, but this was the first that was held direcly on the Arizona-Mexican border -- four miles down a dirt road on a small private ranch that has been a hotspot for illegal intruders. It was almost as if the activists were invading the immigrants territory.
Pro-immigrant groups were spotted with binoculers, observing the protest from as far away as possible. Activists said that intelligence among pro-immigrant activists was just as advanced as the intelligence from U.S. border patrol guards. Many tea party protesters held firearms.
The temperature was 100 degrees, and the tea partiers congregated in an area of the ranch where a fence was erected to try and keep immigrants out.
Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and McCain challenger J.D. Hayworth were among the dozen or so speakers that rallied the crowd. A judge overturned the harshest provisions of Brewer's immigration law last month, while President Obama has tried to placate the activists by sending 1,000 more Border Patrol agents and other resources to the border. None of those agents, of course, were actually charged with apprehending suspected illegals.
Hundreds of small U.S. flags and messages were attached earlier to the fence posts by opponents of illegal immigration. The fence, about 15-feet tall and built in the last decade, barely conceals the old barrier still standing behind it: a short, flimsy barbed-wire fence.
One message, attached to a flag on the border wall, read, "Mister President ... Secure This Border For America."