Skip to comments.Time Proves Unkind To Minuteman Movement
Posted on 07/25/2007 10:39:12 AM PDT by Incorrigible
Anti-immigration activist Mike Forest waves signs at passing traffic while monitoring a day labor site in Cornelius, Ore., before he was tossed out of the Minuteman organization. (Photo by Olivia Bucks)
[Portland, OR] -- Packaged as a patriotic crusade in 2005 to safeguard the United States' borders and pressure legislators to bear down on illegal immigration, the Minuteman movement saw chapters spring up in nearly every state.
The message was clear, and it spread quickly: If you are here illegally, you don't deserve what America has to offer.
Abruptly in May, however, chapters in a half-dozen states were terminated by the parent organization. The group's president fired several national and state leaders after they questioned its management and financial accountability.
The ousted leaders quickly formed a splinter group, the Patriots' Border Alliance, and are pledging to be just as aggressive in targeting illegal immigrants and their employers.
Mike Forest, one of the ousted leaders now heading a Patriots group, plans to run for the U.S. Senate from Oregon in 2010. He says Minutemen and Patriots will continue to partner with anti-illegal immigration allies, pressuring employers to require documentation and pushing to require that Spanish speakers speak only English in public schools.
"We have some serious issues with how elected officials are doing their jobs,'' Forest said.
Started just before the illegal immigration debate stirred the nation, the Minuteman movement was founded by two men campaigning to close the Southwest border.
Disagreements split the group after a few months, and Chris Simcox, one of the founders, moved on to form the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, based in Arizona. Combined, the groups today have about 140 chapters nationwide, leaders say.
Members tried to capitalize on citizens' pent-up concerns about the changing cultural makeup of their communities, overburdened social services, crowded schools and crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
The groups' strategy started at securing borders, spread to interior states and then to lobbying at the nation's Capitol.
Last summer, Forest planted the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps flag in Oregon. The state Agriculture Department employee said he was disturbed that some of his relatives were denied state services because, he says, ``if you're not Mexican or pregnant, you don't apply.'' He also protested the presence of state resources at events aimed at reaching Mexican nationals.
Minutemen targeted day labor sites, turning over license plate numbers of employers to authorities.
"Any benefits should be going to Americans, ... not to someone who breaks the law,'' Forest said.
In May, just when Congress was taking up the immigration reform vote, Forest and the Oregon chapter were scrapped by Simcox, the national president.
Forest and other leaders had pressured Simcox to disclose how the organization's money was being spent. They requested a meeting and put together a lengthy list of concerns.
Simcox never showed and, fulfilling an earlier threat, fired Forest and leaders in New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico and New Hampshire. The national deputy executive director, Bob Wright, also was terminated.
"People wanted to talk to the boss, and the boss fired everyone who wanted to talk to him,'' Wright said, contending the group has strayed from its original mission. Wright says that since the falling out, a couple of hundred members have abandoned the group.
Simcox and Al Garza, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps national executive director, say the accusations are false. Separately, they face a lawsuit from a donor who claims his $100,000 was supposed to help build a border fence but didn't.
"People were basically trying to sabotage the organization,'' Simcox said from Arizona. The group has grown stronger since the rift, and membership has increased, he says.
The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has "opened the eyes and ears of America,'' helping defeat immigration reform proposals in Congress, Garza said.
"This issue of illegal immigration would not be where it is now if it weren't for us,'' he said.
Critics who track the group closely call that claim inflated.
The Minutemen, more than most anti-immigration groups nationwide, have helped popularize the anti-immigration sentiment. They also have spurred the formation of more than 100 extremist groups since 2005, said Heidi Beirich, deputy director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, an Alabama-based program that tracks such activity.
But to say the group has shifted public sentiment or that it was instrumental in weighing down Congress' compromise is an overstatement, political analysts say.
The voice of anti-immigrant groups as a whole, along with the complexity of the proposal and lack of concrete support all around, defeated the bill not the Minutemen, said Audrey Singer, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan research and policy think tank in Washington.
"It would be hard for anyone to gauge this group's impact,'' Singer said.
She said figures shift depending on how the question is worded, but national polls generally show that a "sizable middle'' of America isn't completely for or against illegal immigrants.
As legislation continues to stall in Congress, and many states pass their own laws to limit benefits for illegal immigrants, the Minutemen vow to continue their campaign.
"We're going to be around,'' Garza said, "doing the same thing we've been doing: border security, holding employers accountable and making sure the laws are enforced.''
(Esmeralda Bermudez is a staff writer for The Oregonian of Portland, Ore. She can be contacted at ebermudez(at)news.oregonian.com.)
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The illegal supporters are oh so happy!
Worse than Man committing evil, is Man permitting evil.
The “sizeable middle” needs to read that “when they came for the Jews, I did not rise, for I was not a Jew...” quote out loud a few dozen times.
Esmeralda Bermudez has no dog in this fight?
Once again, the OBL traitors can not get it right. The wonderful Miz Esmeralda Bermudez apparently can not, after two and a half YEARS, distinguish the different between the the real,original Minuteman Project, founded by Jim Gilchrist and the money theaving, doomed to failure Minuteman Civil Defense Corps which is run by Chris Simcox
Here, Miz Esmeralda Bermudez once again attempts to propagandize American Citizens with her feeble attempt to dismiss the difference between bigots opposed to immigrants and advocates of the law that oppose criminal illegal alien border law violators. She wants everyone to think anti-immigration when the issue is criminal illegal alien border law violators
The Minutemen, more than most anti-immigration groups nationwide, have helped popularize the anti-immigration sentiment.
Here Miz Esmeralda Bermudez can hardly contain her paranoia hate-thoughts by turning to the known propaganda machine Southern Poverty Law Center
They also have spurred the formation of more than 100 extremist groups since 2005, said Heidi Beirich, deputy director of the Southern Poverty Law Center
Monday, August 07, 2006 All Minute Men are Not Created Equal
“...spurred the formation of more than 100 extremist groups since 2005, said Heidi Beirich, deputy director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, an Alabama-based program that tracks such activity.”
Gives them something to do.
“The ousted leaders quickly formed a splinter group, the Patriots’ Border Alliance, and are pledging to be just as aggressive in targeting illegal immigrants and their employers.”
This is the Achilles heel of our anti-illegal forces - the propensity to split up into little splinter groups rather than uniting under a common banner the way the illegals and their supporters do. That’s why they have 100,000 people marching down the street shouting “si se puede,” and we have 25 people with signs sitting in lawn chairs in a roped off area. Maybe I’ll solve the problem by starting my own group. No, wait...