Skip to comments.What Happened to Minuteman Project? It's Still Roiling Immigration Reform.
Posted on 05/17/2014 5:26:01 PM PDT by kristinn
The Minuteman Project, which had civilians guard the border, has all but disappeared. But it stoked a movement that continues to influence the immigration reform debate.
In just a few years, perhaps the most visible civilian attempt to stop illegal immigration has all but disappeared amid the changing dynamics of the debate.
A little less than a decade ago, the Minuteman Project and the copycats it spawned arrived at the Arizona border with binoculars and American flags, vowing to defend the country from what they described as an invasion. At their height, the Minutemen were the face of a conservative insurgency that would later lend its energy to the emergence of the tea party.
To like-minded Americans, they were patriots. To critics, they were dangerous vigilantes.
Today, however, they have largely vanished. The recession took its toll, it seems, making an expensive enterprise impractical for workaday crusaders. So did infighting within the groups, as well as shifts in immigration patterns.
But the Minutemen were also victims of their own success, helping to forge a strident new movement against illegal immigration that continues to shape the political debate today. In a very real way, the Minuteman Project has lost momentum because politicians in state capitols and Congress have taken the lead. While several states from Arizona to Alabama have passed strong anti-illegal immigration laws, Republicans in the US House of Representatives have blocked comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
"The energy passed from the so-called citizen border patrol groups to state legislatures," says Mark Potok, an expert on militias and antigovernment groups at the Southern Law Poverty Center, in Birmingham, Ala.
(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...
But wasn't that the plan in the first place? To raise awareness so that our politicians could do something? To even become politicians ourselves? Donnelly, now an Assemblyman, is leading KashKari by a large margin in pre-primary polls in the race for Governor. The MinuteMen are still very active even if they aren't spending their weekends in the desert.
That was exactly the plan.
That is the MAIN reason they are no longer active on the border and not the recession (2005 - no recession) nor the Repubs, who mostly WANT immigration amnesty. I know because I was MinuteMan and even worked with the co-founder ,Jim Gilchrist. I spent a day at his home (across the Hwy) to help with his database, not to mention phone conversations.
The biggest problem was one individual (won't name for fear of lawsuit, which he was prone to) who decided he wanted a more aggressive (lawbreaking) organization and formed his own group while ripping off the name of MinuteMan. He confused many volunteers and pulled some away from the Project.
Plus, the other original co-founder, Chris Simcox who owned the Tombstone Tumbleweed newspaper also had a falling out with Jim Gilchrist as who was in charge. It was a stupid power play between the founders. Also, Simcox got himself in trouble with the authorities - can't remember the issue. I remember thinking it was BS, but it tainted the brand name.
The whole thing just disintegrated from there. There were some other smaller splinter groups who didn't want to follow the original intent of peaceful watching and reporting. It turned into a cluster and I dis-associated myself from further support.
Those are the facts because I was in contact with the two original founders, including the idiot who decided not to play by the rules and/or just wanted his own power trip. He tried to recruit me. I attempted to convince him that a unified Minuteman Project would be best.
Yes I did go down to stand watch one weekend. Being a long time anti-illegal alien advocate (since the 80's), it was an exciting and rewarding time. Too bad everyone wanted to be top dog and blew it up. The up side, it did bring the problem to national attention and debate.
No, the main purpose was a simple civilian watch of the border because we had lost faith in the politicians. We were all hoping it may cause concern to the populace and politicians, but it was much like the recent Bundy gathering of patriots who got tired of the Fedgov not doing it's job, or in the Bundy case, over-reaching their mandate. Remember the wall that was funded? and then further work was cancelled when Obambi soiled our WH?
Of course, it was reported as armed vigilantes, when in fact we just sat there with binoculars in lawn chairs and watched and reported to Border Patrol. BTW, Border Patrol was very supportive of our efforts and even thanked us. It was a great grassroots project in the beginning. Too bad egos got in the way.
The work is far from done and you're right that the movement fell apart due to egos and power plays (a common occurrence it seems:-)
Thank you for doing your part, as you have done many times before for our country.