The minutemen were impromptu American soldiers in the Revolutionary War, farmers who were ready and willing to be called up at a "minute's" notice to fight for American independence.
In the present day, the Minutemen are a group of usually conservative American citizens who volunteer to patrol the border between the United States and Mexico in order to assist in the effort to stop illegal immigration into the country. The men are volunteers and receive no support from the government for their efforts. Numerous attempts have been made by leftist groups to have the Minutemen shut down, including unsubstantiated accusations of violence and racism against illegals. Though the volunteers are armed, their firearms are for self defense against the criminals and gangs who smuggle illegal drugs and groups of illegals across the border. The Minutemen do not fire on anyone unless fired upon as a matter of policy, instead detaining illegals until the authorities can deport them. They do not, therefore, fit the definition of a vigilante group, as they do not take the law into their own hands, instead choosing to freely assist their community's law enforcement, essentially a Neighborhood Crime Watch for the Mexican border. Their being armed is assisted by Arizona being a "constitutional carry" state and Texas having less gun control than other liberal unfree states like California.
The issue of the Minutemen is another example of liberal deceit, in which the mainstream media uses accusations of racism to shift debate from the issue of illegal immigration and onto the motives and character of volunteer watchmen.