Skip to comments.ACLU plans to follow Minuteman Project
Posted on 03/09/2005 1:15:10 PM PST by Spiff
ACLU plans to follow Minuteman Project
BY BILL HESS
Wednesday, March 9, 2005 11:31 AM MST
Sierra Vista Herald/Review
BISBEE, Arizona - The Minutemen are coming to Cochise County next month, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona is, too.
At least two ACLU observers will tag along wherever Minuteman Project volunteers go, said, Ray Ybarra, an Ira Glasser Racial Justice Fellow, a title given him by the national ACLU headquarters.
Hopefully, he said, there will be no confrontation with "the vigilantes."
"If they go hiking through the desert, we'll be there with them. If they sit in lawn chairs, we'll sit in lawn chairs next to them," he said.
The object is to watch the volunteers' actions.
By following the volunteers, the ACLU of Arizona is putting those involved in the Minuteman Project on notice that the violation of the civil rights of "migrants" will not be accepted, Ybarra said.
Chris Simcox, co-organizer of the Minuteman Project and longtime advocate of helping patrol the border using citizens, said the ACLU is not a detriment to the proposed operations planned in April. He said ACLU members have patrolled with the Civil Homeland Defense, a Tombstone-based group he formed.
Simcox said the ACLU observers can walk along with the volunteers and sit with them.
The more presence there is, the bigger the message will be to illegal immigrants, Simcox said.
"It will create more of a deterrent," he said.
On previous operations, ACLU members could not find that anything wrong had been done, he added.
Ybarra, a native of Arizona who was born in Douglas and now works out of that community as part of the fellowship program, said groups who come into the county with the intention of enforcing federal immigration laws at the minimum have to be monitored.
Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever has been remiss in stopping the assault on illegal immigrants, Ybarra said Tuesday.
"The activities of the current vigilantes and those new volunteers constitutes unlawful imprisonment, but unfortunately the Cochise County sheriff attended a meeting of the Minuteman Project as a sign of support.
"To this date, he (Dever) has yet to arrest any private citizens for unlawfully detaining or abusing migrants despite a vast amount of evidence hat these incidents have occurred," he said.
Ybarra sent Dever a letter Monday calling on the sheriff to do his duty as the county's top law enforcement officer. Ybarra's letter urged the sheriff to uphold Arizona laws. He said the Minuteman Project has the potential to violate a number of state statutes, including false imprisonment and unauthorized detention.
Dever said Ybarra's idea that he is not upholding the law is based on innuendo and false assumptions.
The sheriff reiterated that every complaint about illegal immigrants being denied any of their rights and allegations of being assaulted or harmed in any way are investigated and reports submitted to the Cochise County attorney and the federal government for decisions if charges are to be made.
As for Ybarra's assertion that he met with those putting on the monthlong border campaign and patted them on the back, Dever said nothing is further from the truth.
The sheriff met with Jim Gilchrist, a co-organizer of the Minuteman Project, and other volunteers in Tombstone in January. Dever said that meeting was to inform Gilchrist of Arizona's laws and the sheriff's view of the laws.
Dever said no criminal activities will be condoned by anyone, those involved in the Minuteman Project, groups or individuals supporting them or organizations and individuals against them. The application of the law will "be swift," he said.
"I'm not going to let anything get out of hand," he said.
There are reports a violent gang called MS-13, made up of criminals with ties to Central American nations, may attempt to disrupt the Minuteman Project, the sheriff said. Although intelligence on MS-13's intentions are not clear, other reports also include the potential that pro and counter groups may show up, Dever said.
"It's a powder keg just waiting for someone to light the fuse," the sheriff said.
By having additional people along the border, such as the proposed legal observers of the ACLU of Arizona, the situation could deteriorate, the sheriff said.
According to a Feb. 28 update on the Minuteman Project Web site, 863 people from all 50 states, including two from Canada, have signed up to come to Cochise County.
Many people who want the border closed say the United States is being invaded by illegal immigrants to the detriment of the nation's economic well being and security.
"The migration by our southern neighbors is not an invasion," Ybarra counted.
He said immigration has always been part of U.S. history, and immigrants make the nation stronger.
ACLU of Arizona will be training individuals as legal observers with workshops in Douglas, Tucson and Phoenix. Ybarra said people in northern California have expressed interest in assisting ACLU of Arizona with its planned project.
"Legal observers will be following these private citizens as they attempt to illegally enforce federal immigration laws," he said.
The observers will report any violations to lawyers, who will be available to file actions against the Minuteman Project people, Ybarra said.
To Ybarra, the Minuteman Project volunteers are dangerous.
"The vigilantes are symbolic of the fear and misunderstanding that exists in our society," he said.
HERALD/REVIEW senior reporter Bill Hess can be reached at 515-4615 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
If the Minuteman Project volunteers violate the law or someone's civil rights, it is up to law enforcement to see it and deal with it. The ACLU and its observers are NOT part of any law enforcement agency. Therefore, by their own definition, the ACLU observers are vigilantes themselves. The ACLU now has no right to complain about the MMP coming to Cochise County to observe and report lawbreakers to the proper authorities when the ACLU itself is sending people to Cochise County to observe and report potential lawbreakers.
No doubt the ACLU is aching to do a smear job on the MMP. Those good folks will have to watch their backs on all sides.
I have great respect for people willing to take action to protect our borders. May God Bless them.
Boy, it would be a damn shame if some of those ACLU city folks got lost out there in that big ol' desert. A damn shame!
"By following the volunteers, the ACLU of Arizona is putting those involved in the Minuteman Project on notice that the violation of the civil rights of "migrants" will not be accepted, Ybarra said."
Seems to me if the Minutemen are on private property then the ACLU folks will be trespassing and subject to arrest.
Once the ACLU fully comprehends this fact and notices that the "weapons" of the MM Project are cell phones and walkie-talkies, they'll bail pretty quickly.
The more people the illegals see, the more likely they are to turn and run...
In the days of clinic sit ins, we used to use the pro-aborts who tried to keep the clinics open to our advantage-- it looked like a giant clusterfudge to women trying to get into the clinic -- it turned about 99% of them away..
Same thing will happen...
Maybe the minutemen should post giant (ie, 5x5 signs) on wooden posts with warnings that immigration officers are in the area and will arrest those trying to get across.
I'm worried some "illegal-phile" will make something up, i.e. LIE, in order to create a negative, anti-MMP controversy.
A legitimate concern.
Can we allow the illegals to stay and deport the ACLU guys? At least most of the illegals are willing to do an honest days work... the same can't be said for the ACLU.
Maybe two for the price of one???
And if Rush is for it... !
Dangerous to the goals of the Aztlan gang, that is.
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