Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Minutemen may be on the way here (Laredo, Texas)
LAREDO MORNING TIMES ^ | 06/26/05 | FRANCISCO VARA-ORTA

Posted on 06/26/2005 3:10:32 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch

Minutemen Project organizers plan to set up shop along the border in Laredo this October, but local officials are not putting out the welcome mat.

Volunteers with the Minutemen Project, an activist organization formed to halt illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border, said theyve already completed a successful inaugural operation in Arizona in April.

Now, the plan is to expand, to California as well as Texas.

Similar missions are planned in California this summer and in South Texas in October.

The Arizona effort was led by a unified coalition, but it has since splintered into several spin-offs.

Organizers for one such mission, "Texas Minutemen," already have an operation in the works. Other volunteers in Houston are discussing a similar but separate project.

Texas Minutemen met last week in Goliad and proclaimed they have 1,000 ranchers interested in their service.

According to one Texas Minutemen organizer, Sandra Beene of Dallas, the effort already has more than 300 volunteers lined up.

Volunteers said theyre all in it for a common cause.

"People on the Texas borders are living in fear," Beene said. "If we dont start taking care of this problem, there will be a border full of crime, and that could erupt in a true race war."

The U.S. Border Patrol has detained 810,500 illegal migrants so far this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30 268,800 of them caught along the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border.

Not only is the Texas border much longer than Arizonas, it also presents more obstacles for a border-watch effort.

In addition to out-of-control drug-related violence in Mexican border cities, such as Nuevo Laredo, land along the Texas border is mostly private.

Minutemen volunteers cant just show up and set up shop they have to ask for permission first.

Also, volunteers can expect strong opposition from the areas predominantly pro-immigrant Mexican-American residents and elected officials, some of whom have labeled the effort as racist.

"They will need a lot of people to make a dent on our border," South Texas rancher Guermillo Benavides said. "Even with the right intentions, it will only take one bad member to ruin the project. Theres too much liability."

Mayor Betty Flores sees no reason to welcome outsiders who dont understand the local culture.

"Laredo is where we are because of the immigrants," Flores said. "I dont believe the Minutemen belong in Texas we can take care of our own."

Flores, a local landowner, fears the Texas Minutemen project will give Laredo a bad name.

"We take offense to the idea of these Minutemen coming to protect us from our neighbors," she said.

They might be neighbors to her, but illegal migrants have become enemies to others.

Kerry Morales, whose family owns adjacent ranches in Hebbronville, about 50 miles from the border, said her life in the last few years has become "a living nightmare."

In her nine years living in the area, Morales said she has seen her fences torn down, horses abused and a pickup stolen. She said she was once nearly strangled to death by an undocumented immigrant who broke into her home.

"The nature of immigrants has changed," Morales said. "They used to ask you politely for work. Now, they just take what is yours. You hope Border Patrol gets out here in time to catch them, but they usually dont."

Border Patrol officials said they appreciate her concerns, but civilians should not try to become de facto law enforcers, said Mario Villarreal, a national spokesman for the agency.

"The border is a very mysterious and dangerous place," said Villarreal. "We must leave the responsibility of protecting the nations borders to highly trained law enforcement personnel."

Villarreal urges civilian patrols to stay away from the borders because of the rugged terrain, heat and violence that agents are trained to confront.

"They work in some of the most isolated and rugged areas in our nation," Villarreal said. "Its not safe."

Whatever the situation, organizers are determined to arrive in Texas border cities this fall.

"All were doing is drawing a line in the sand," Morales said. "Until the government does something about the illegal immigration, then civilian groups will continue to pop up until Border Patrol has everything to make the borders secure."

Founded by Jim Gilchrist, a retired California accountant and former Marine, the original Minutemen Project drew its name from the 1770s-era Massachusetts militiamen on call to fight at a moments notice.

Following protocol established in Arizona, volunteers in Texas will be instructed to simply watch for illegal crossers and report sightings to the Border Patrol. The controversial issue has already made its mark on local and national political scenes.

President Bush publicly disapproved of "vigilantes" taking the law into their own hands.

In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger welcomes the Minutemen while Los Angeles mayorelect Antonio Villaraigosa disapproves, setting the stage for a showdown that Texans could soon see in their own backyard.

Texas Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, introduced a resolution during the last legislative session blasting the Minutemen Project, urging Gov. Rick Perry to stop the group from organizing. Eleven other senators signed the document.

Perrys response: As long as the Texas Minutemen dont break any laws, theres nothing he can or will do about it.

"The governor certainly understands and shares the concerns of the Minutemen," said Perry spokesman Robert Black in a statement. "But this is not the solution."

Critics are purposefully blowing matters out of proportion, Texas Minutemen organizers said.

"Most of us out there are old ladies in lawn chairs with binoculars," Beene said. "It would be stupid (for) any of us to break the law, when our whole objective is to stop illegal activity down there."

Texas Minutemen organizers dont want to be confused with Ranch Rescue, a nationally organized group that was operating in Texas in 2003 when a confrontation between undocumented migrants and two Ranch Rescue members ended in court after the illegals claimed to be beaten.

Ranch Rescue organizers declined an interview, but their national spokesperson, Jack Wright, said in a statement that they support the Minutemen Project.

Although neither Ranch Rescue member jail time for assault, Beene said the case "left a bad taste" in some border communities who feared all civilian patrols were "violent vigilantes and racists."

"We have tried to run off the people that sound or act racist," Beene said. "We dont want any of them making trouble."

Beene said the racist stigma some open-border groups have placed on the Minutemen Project is wrong.

"Our mission has nothing to do with racism, but with enforcing the law," she said. "You shouldnt shut off the borders, but crossers should abide by the law just as U.S. citizens have to. We say, dont stop immigration but control it."

National opponents include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

"They are taking the law into their own hands," said Hector Flores, LULAC national president and a Texas native. "(The Minutemen) are harming race-relations in the border region. "

Hinojosa, who represents the border town of McAllen, agrees.

"I dont think that theres any doubt that theres a tinge of racism beneath the surface in their attempt to try to stop immigrants from Mexico," Hinojosa said in a statement to the Associated Press. "Why dont they do that in Canada?"

Politics aside, nothing can override reality, said Benavides, the rancher who has become reluctantly used to migrants trekking through his property.

He may not like it, but he doesnt need tension around his property, either.

Bottom line, he noted: Neither Texas Minutemen, migrant advocates nor the Border Patrol, for that matter, will be able to truly resolve the illegal immigration dilemma.

Economics started the problem, and only economics can fix it, he said.

"Mexico needs to improve (its) economic situation so (residents) want to stay in their country," he said. "As long as we have great opportunities right next door, they are going to try to come at whatever cost."

(Francisco Vara-Orta can be reached at (956) 728-2562 or fvara@lmtonline.com.)


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Mexico; US: District of Columbia; US: Texas; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aliens; bordersecurity; laredo; nationoflaws; texasminutemen; vigilantes
The Minutemen are coming! The Minutemen are coming! The Minutemen are coming!
1 posted on 06/26/2005 3:10:33 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: SwinneySwitch
Advertir Mina
3 posted on 06/26/2005 3:18:37 PM PDT by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

Has anyone seen the story on the family murdered by some guy that they think jumped back across the border. YUMA, ARIZONA. 4 CHILDREN and their parents.


4 posted on 06/26/2005 3:19:59 PM PDT by marty60
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
In her nine years living in the area, Morales said she has seen her fences torn down, horses abused and a pickup stolen. She said she was once nearly strangled to death by an undocumented immigrant who broke into her home.

Border Patrol officials said they appreciate her concerns, but civilians should not try to become de facto law enforcers, said Mario Villarreal, a national spokesman for the agency.

It must be a real comfort to Morales to hear that Mario Villarreal "appreciates her concerns".

Hey Mario, you're a real prince among men!

5 posted on 06/26/2005 3:21:05 PM PDT by DumpsterDiver
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: marty60

Yuma post:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1430643/posts


6 posted on 06/26/2005 3:22:46 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Liberals-beyond your expectations!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

Thanks I was late this AM.


7 posted on 06/26/2005 3:27:52 PM PDT by marty60
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

Thanks I was late this AM. On Fox they mentioned the police said they were not sure if he had jumped the border or not.


8 posted on 06/26/2005 3:29:49 PM PDT by marty60
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
Draconian methods have been used at the State level to protect Citizens.

In 1755 Massachusetts Governor William Shirley offered £40 for Indian male scalps and £20 for female scalps.

Certainly not applicable today. But, in the absence of Federal control, I feel that the Governors must be called to to take effective action.
9 posted on 06/26/2005 3:34:20 PM PDT by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
Big Texas-sized Minuteman bump!

"They are taking the law into their own hands," said Hector Flores, LULAC national president and a Texas native. "(The Minutemen) are harming race-relations in the border region. "

And what are you doing to improve race relations, Hector, seeing as how you represent an ethno-centric group? A group that sets its own interests ahead of U.S. national interests...

10 posted on 06/26/2005 3:44:52 PM PDT by La Enchiladita (Remembering our Heroes today and every day.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: selucreh; txroadhawg; NHAntiMassRedRebel; texgal; DaGman; HOYA97; I_Publius; JesseJane; beeler; ...

Texas Minutemen Ping!

Please FReepmail me if you want on or off this South Texas/Mexico ping list.


11 posted on 06/26/2005 3:55:58 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Liberals-beyond your expectations!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Theodore R.

Ping to you, my friend, for news down your way.


12 posted on 06/26/2005 4:04:09 PM PDT by speedy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TexasConservative46

Doing the job the Bush administration refuses to do. Bush's latin attorney general had the gaul to call the minutement "vigilantes". He also stated that the border issue needs to be studied because it is so complicated.
Vote third party before it is to late.


13 posted on 06/26/2005 5:36:28 PM PDT by doc
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch
You have to recognize genius when you see it.
On the one hand you have government doing nothing and the Citizens getting the recognition and slowing illegal immigration.
On the other hand you have government responding to the requests of folks like Sheila Lee and others by sending in the military, whether state or federal, to handle these "vigilantes" as they name them. (nothing like a little military presence on the border, is there)
Either way the government loses. Gotta love it!
14 posted on 06/26/2005 6:12:02 PM PDT by philman_36 ("Itís a legal document, and legal documents do not change." Scalia)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SwinneySwitch

I am impressed. A reasonably accurate article and except for the propaganda and "Canadian Border" rhetoric from Hector Flores, LULAC national president, he even got all the players right. I might send the guy an email thanking him for his diligence and attention to detail.


15 posted on 06/26/2005 10:15:07 PM PDT by TLI (. ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA,. .Minuteman Project, Day -1 to Day 8)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson