Will volunteers have a place in border patrol? It’s hard to tell after conflicting statements this week from two sectors of the government.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner (search) said Wednesday in an interview with the Associated Press that he was looking into using U.S. citizens to help with the battle against illegal immigration in the form of a border patrol auxiliary.

Click in the video box above to watch a report by FOX News’ Adam Housely.

This was countered the next day when the Department of Homeland Security (search) issued a statement that “the job of patrolling the borders should continue to be done by the highly trained, professional law enforcement officials of the border patrol and its partner agencies.”

All of this, of course, evoked opinions from both sides of the issue.

“It’s not a good idea,” said Angelica Salas, an immigration rights advocate. “The border patrol should do its job. The individuals who are doing this, they’re vigilantes, as we call them, and should actually be working to change immigration policy.

Jim Gilchrist, of the Minuteman Project (search), thinks the volunteers serve a purpose.

“A civilian volunteer group would provide a very good extra layer of security,” Gilchrist said, “and would certainly bring the citizenry closer together with our law enforcement and erase that gap that we have.”

In April, hundreds of civilians took part in the Minuteman Project to patrol the Arizona-Mexico border in an effort to reduce illegal immigration.

Last year the U.S. caught more than 500,000 illegal immigrants just in Arizona.

Click in the video box above to watch a report by FOX News’ Adam Housely.