Skip to comments.Minutemen hope effort sends message to government [Midland, Texas meeting & photos]
Posted on 08/17/2005 5:15:00 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
About 25 volunteers from the Permian Basin met on a ranch southeast of Midland Tuesday for an orientation in monitoring the southern Texas border for those attempting illegal entry to the United States.
The volunteers sat under a storage eve on the ranch while Chris Simcox, founder and national president of the Tombstone, Ariz.-based Minutemen Civil Defense Corp, outlined methods and technology the group will use when they converge on the Texas-Mexico border in October.
Simcox said several hundred volunteers will monitor the southern state border then, acting as extra eyes and ears for the Border Patrol in an effort to stem illegal entry across the border.
The mission of the minutemen is two-fold, Simcox said, explaining he hopes his group's activities send a message to Washington of widespread dissatisfaction with the government's success in securing the nation's borders.
"No movement has gained this much attention in the United States since the civil rights movement," Simcox said.
"I like what I've heard. They're stressing to stay within the law and they seem to understand the significance one foul up could have for the group's reputation," U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland said.
Conaway said he did not attend the meeting as a show of support for the group but came to appear on the "Hannity & Colmes" Fox News show live broadcast from the ranch after the meeting.
Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter described the group as a large, portable neighborhood watch.
He said, "There is always the potential for any group to go too far" but it seemed the minuteman were committed to monitoring their actions and conducting themselves within the law.
Deputy Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens local district Ruben Ramirez said he felt "uneasy" the meeting was not public and only those wishing to volunteer with the minutemen were permitted on the ranch.
Simcox said the group has been mis-represented in the media.
"We are not vigilante. And this has nothing to do with race," Simcox explained. "We sit in lawn chairs and we observe. If and when we spot illegal or suspicious activity, we call the border patrol. It's rule of law. It's to secure the border. That's it."
Simcox explained every group of border monitors carries a video camera and every contact the group has had with illegal border crossers has been filmed.
Most of the volunteers were middle-age or older and white but not all.
Connie Sutton of Odessa said the has been attending local minuteman meetings since they began in June.
"It's just something that's really important to me, Sutton said." I'm tired of it and I think the border situation really needs to change."
Sutton said she hoped to spend at least four days on the border with the group in October.
Private land owners have agreed to allow the minutemen to camp on their land and monitor the border, Simcox said.
During October the minutemen will monitor the four states that border Mexico and nine states that border Canada. Three "inland" demonstrations are also planned for supporters of the group who cannot come to a border, Simcox said.
It's an ultimatum, Simcox said. "If this doesn't make the government wake up and fix the borders, then we'll double our numbers and come back."
"But hopefully they'll get the message and we can go home. That's all we want is to go home."
Hannity and Conaway
Photographer: Kris J. Murante
I'm thinking that mailbox is full spilling onto the groud and up the street.
Hannity dosent look bed...
The gov'ment got the message long ago and told us all to pound sand...
Our esteemed president said they're vigilantes. So just ignore 'em.