Skip to comments.Napa Minuteman offers tales from border patrol
Posted on 09/16/2006 5:34:26 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch
A Napa resident who has patrolled the California-Mexico border as part of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps gave a talk to a mostly supportive crowd of Republican Party members this week, describing his experience on the frontier and explaining how he became so active on an issue that is spurring debate around the country.
John Clark, 37, said when he visited the border, he saw "coyotes" smuggling people, criminals smuggling drugs and even armed bandits on all-terrain vehicles who prey on immigrants. He said that with the chaos, U.S. Border Patrol agents are happy to have the Minutemen on the scene.
"It looks like the wild west out there," he said. "It's crazy."
Clark gave his talk to about 50 members of the Napa Valley Republican Women. Based on their comments, the audience agreed with Clark that illegal immigration is undermining the quality of life in the United States.
The talk at Embassy Suites Hotel Napa Valley in Napa comes when immigration has become one of the hottest political topics in Republican circles. Competing immigration measures in the House and Senate are on the congressional agenda this fall. The House measure focuses on border security and punishment for those who assist illegal immigrants, while the Senate measure also includes mechanisms for the illegal immigrants already living and working here to gain legal residency or citizenship.
The Minutemen have become controversial since actively working the borders. Some hail them as heroes, other as vigilantes.
Regardless, Clark may not fit some Minuteman critics' idea of a typical Minuteman.
His wife is a Chilean immigrant. One of his children's godfathers is Mexican. He said he can speak Spanish.
Still, he said, some people think he is a racist for believing so strongly in stopping the flow of undocumented immigrants.
As he responded to a flurry of comments from the Napa Valley Republican Women about his service as the Northern California director of the Minuteman, Clark was unabashed about his opinions.
"I don't believe white Europeans have a strong enough voice here," Clark said, responding to one woman who said her friends from Europe were blocked entry into the U.S. while illegal immigrants flood across the Mexican border.
Bad roads? High crime? Illegal immigrants can be the source of many troubles, Clark said, because they drain money spent on social services, and a porous border serves as a highway for all kinds of criminals.
"People say you can't blame the roads on illegal immigrants and I say you can," he said. "All the money we've been spending on social services (used by illegal immigrants) could have gone to roads."
The costs of illegal immigration in the United States are the subject of heated debate.
Many believe, as does Clark, that illegal immigrants drain healthcare and other resources. Others say illegal immigrants who use false identifications to get work actually contribute more in tax dollars than they cost the system.
Still other observers say the main cost is in the public schools, which educate the American-born children of families that crossed into the country illegally.
Clark's activism stems from a concern about what he sees happening to the state. In part it also stems from his wife's difficulties in legally immigrating to the country -- something he said took three tries, and ultimately succeeded with immigration officials only because he agreed to marry her when she came.
His lingering frustration from that experience spurred him into action.
"My wife got tired of me sitting on the couch in front of the TV bitching and moaning about illegal immigration," he said. "She said why don't you go do something about it?"
Clark began his foray into the Minuteman group last year. He said about 15 Napans have joined with him, and that there are dozens more in the Northern California chapter.
Clark said his group is armed with pistols when they spend a week -- sometimes a month -- watching the inhospitable border east of San Diego with binoculars and thermal sensing cameras. They don't interact with or detain the people they find, they merely tip off the Border Patrol.
"We'd like to leave the border security to the people who are better trained to do it, but the government is not doing it," he said.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, in fiscal year 2005 the agency arrested more than 1.1 million illegal immigrants and seized an estimated $1.7 billion worth of drugs. The agency says it has 42,000 employees who work together to secure 6,900 miles of U.S. border, including the Mexican and Canadian borders along with 95,000 miles of American shoreline.
So is our government. The quality of life in the USA is far less since the INVASION, and it is poised to get worse.
LIARS!! Apparently these people have never been told by the IRS that "We already have a tax return for your SSAN this year, why are you sending another one?". It sure rocks your world as I spent $$$ to correct that fraud.
The Minutemen have become controversial since actively working the borders;;;;;;it's controversial to observe and report criminal activity.