“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” –Samuel Adams
Thus begins the web site for the “The Minuteman Project.” Apparently, this is a group of volunteers that plan to “guard” the southwestern U.S. border from illegal immigrants. They propose to do this by spending up to 30 days along the Arizona-Mexican border assisting U.S. Immigration Service with spotting and turning back illegal immigrants from our southern neighbor country. The “mission” will start April 1, gathering in Tombstone, AZ.
The Project quotes these statistics:
“Currently, about 5,000 “unapprehended” illegal aliens trespass the Arizona/Mexico border DAILY. Another 5,000 invade the U.S. from the Texas, California and New Mexico borders…DAILY. That’s 10,000 per day -300,000 per month. Over 3,000,000 (three million) per year!”
The stated objective is:
“Our objective will be to spot these intruders with the aid of binoculars – telescopes – night vision scopes, and inform the U.S. Border Patrol of the location of the trespassers so that border patrol agents can intercept and detain them. Generally, we will not be confronting the illegal aliens. [my emphasis] The tentative area of observation will be a 20-mile stretch of lowlands across the San Pedro Valley.”
Now, hopefully, this is a publicity stunt that will draw attention to the growing problem of illegal immigration. Worse case scenario: The U.S. Immigration and Customs officials will have even more wanderers in the southern Arizona desert to identify. Really Worse Case Scenario: Someone ends up getting killed. I hope it ends up simply being the first.
But, I have a deep suspicion that there will be a few far-right wingnuts toting firearms around in the desert shouting “Halt! Who goes there?” If so, there is going to be a real mess in the desert.
In the “FAQ” section of the web site, the leader describes their proposed activities in this way:
“By legal means we will surprise ILLEGAL immigrants on trails heading north. By legal means we will suggest that people sit and wait for USBP to come and pick them up. We will follow illegal aliens from a distance and continue spotting them until authorities answer our cell phone and/or back-pack radio calls.”
I can only imagine the chaos and the threat of danger both sides will feel as they face off among the cactus and the sagebrush. Will there be gun fire? I certainly hope not, but the web site is vague about that stating only that:
“The Minuteman Project is neutral on this issue [on whether participants will carry firearms]. It neither encourages nor discourages the “open carry” laws of the state of Arizona.”
The Project states very clearly on the web site (and previously on Hannity/Colmes) that they are there to only observe and report – never to detain, confront, or display any outwardly hostile behavior. It seems to be simply a goal of bringing attention to the unobserved border crossings that are missed by the Border Patrol. They are clear on their web site about this.
I only hope that the people being “observed and reported” take this in the “spirit” in which it appears to be meant. But I do have serious reservations.