Jan 16, 2006

The Minuteman Project: A Nascent Paramilitary Movement?

Left: Minuteman recruitment ad, courtesy of Minuteman HQ

(Toledo, OH) An excellent article can be found by David Niewert over at Orcinus on the Minuteman Project. The goal of the Minutemen is ostensibly to "protect" US borders from illegal immigrants, and members are only supposed to report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol.

Niewert's article, which is the third in a series on the Minutemen, looks at the problems that the project's leaders have faced in attracting hard-core white supremacists, as well as the proliferation of guns among a group that is supposedly an unarmed civil patrol.

Interesting quote from Niewert that I think encapsulates the flaws with the Minuteman Project:
What's going on, of course, is that the Minutemen provide an ideal opportunity for white racists to "mainstream" their agenda, using the relatively benign "average citizens" that Lou Dobbs exclusively observes in their ranks as just so much cover.
Niewert notes that posters at white supremacist forums like Stormfront regularly proclaim the importance of not only using these movements as entry into mainstream dialogue, but to actively coopt them.

I harken back to an article I wrote noting the similarities between these anti-immigrant, pro-white movements and the similarities with the growth of Hitler’s Sturmabteilung (SA) in late 1920s and early 1930s Germany. Are we witnessing the birth of an American right-wing paramilitary force?


Lisa Renee said...

La Prensa had an interesting article by Hector M. Flores, the president of League of United Latin American Citizens. While I'm not sure I agree with all of his views on illegal immigration, if you haven't seen it, you might be interested in the perspective he shares.


Anonymous said...


I usually agree or just mildly disagree with you. But here, I strongly disagree with you.

These people just want to do what the government is supposed to do and fail to do which is protect our borders.

I'm sure that extremists are attracted to groups such as this. But indicting them because of Nazis joining it is like indicting the peace movement of the 1960s just because Communists joined it.

Those who lead sometimes do not always keep company with those whom they attract.


historymike said...

Disagreement? Not allowed!!!


Agreed that the movement should not be condemned because of a few rogue elements, MeMyself&I.

I do worry that we may be entering a phase of extra-governmental militias and paramilitary outfits who can operate under the radar to terrorize civilians.

I also believe that illegal immigrants will be the 2008 bogeymen used to frighten the average citizen into voting for the GOP.

liberal_dem said...

Here's the grand hypocrisy of it all: The Bush Administration continually touts its efforts on the 'war on terror,' yet it leaves the back door to our nation wide open.

Why? To appease the businessmen who use the illegals to do the cheap work for them, thus padding their bottom line.

Bush doesn't give one hoot about securing America with a two-faced policy like this. He's a faux patriot of the highest order.

Lisa Renee said...

I think we all realize the government isn't serious about illegal immigration. Merely rounding up a few hundred illegal immigrants sending them back only to have them return again isn't going to solve the problem. Making all of those here legal isn't going to stop the new ones from coming. Only way to stop it is to go after those who hire them. Which? Isn't likely either.

historymike said...

Or for conditions to improve in their home countries.

People come here - legally and illegally - for a reason, and that usually revolves around quality of life.

As long as things suck elsewhere, people will want to come here, and employers here will continue to employ them in low-wage jobs.

Lisa Renee said...

Not to mention Mexico doesn't seem to be complaining about the numbers of immigrants here legal or illegal who send money back into Mexico.

It's a big endless cycle and is going to take more than the Minutemen to stop it.

Anonymous said...

I doubt the GOP will be the only group to exploit the issue.

Actually, I agree with some of what liberal_dem said about why we don't secure the border.

However, I see the Republicans perhaps trying to either ignore the issue or straddle the fence on it. Hispanics are moving toward the GOP and they are trying to decide which they want worse: the Hispanic vote or border security.

It would also hurt the economy to be too restrictive on illegal immigration and what party or president wants to be responsible for that? (Jimmy Carter excepted)


Stephanie said...

Mike, I must disagree to a certain extent.

The links and info you provided about the Minutemen are indeed disturbing, though not necessarily without their own bias. However, illegal immigration is a serious problem...the benefits of illegal immigrants do NOT, imo, out-weigh the negatives involved. And those same benefits could be more appropriately procured with LEGAL immigration...that does NOT reward breaking the law.

I have no problem with immigration, though I do believe it needs to be controlled and accomplished legally.

The hardest working man I know right now is an immigrant--a LEGAL immigrant. He works twelve hours a day, 364 days a year and has put himself through school to obtain a bachelors degree and is working on saving the money necessary for a Master's degree in business. His work ethic is incredible and he does his customer service job very well, despite the long hours and unending series of days. He's Iranian, not Latino, but that's not the point. The point is he's working VERY hard to do things the right way.

IMO, it is shameful to disregard the success of men and women like the man I just described to say that illegal immigrants who sneak into this country to live, work and spend their money here illegally are of the same stock and value to us.

In my experience, limited as it is, illegal immigrants are often involved in other illegal activities, including stealing other people's identities (both the dead and the living), theft, drugs and more violent crimes. This, by no means, indicates to me nor am I suggesting that it should indicate to anyone else that ALL illegal immigrants behave thus, but the fact that they are very skilled, by necessity of survival, of living under the legal radar so to speak, makes it very easy for them to get away with their criminal activities and makes those criminal activities all the more tempting.

That people actually aide, abed and encourage this is something I find just as disturbing as the Minutemen's response to this problem.

Illegal immigrants are by no means just Latinos. They come from Europe. They come from Africa. They come from all over the globe. And yes, some of them are probably terrorists, though only an extremely small portion of them. As dangerous as that small portion is...the others who choose illegal activity over honest access and gains to the rights and priviledges of living in this nation are equally, or in some cases, more dangerous than the terrorists, imo, because they are so numerous and get away with so much.

I do encourage people searching for a better life for themselves and their posterity to come to this country, but to do so legally. If that means we need to stream-line the process to make it more accessible, that's certainly a doable solution. However, I find it far too difficult a notion to accept that we should provide illegal immigrants who've come here by way of criminal means a "Get out of jail free card" and direct pass through the system to American citizenship.

They chose to break the law. They should face the consequences. Exempting them from those consequences, imo, sets a very bad example that will make law enforcement all the more difficult. Why have laws if we don't expect people to obey them and enforce them when they don't?

Civil disobedience is one thing. It can be a very honorable calling, or one fraught with errors in judgement. I don't see this as a matter of civil disobedience on either side. Callous as it sounds, those who choose to risk their lives to obtain illegal entry to this country have made a choice and are responsible for the consequences of their actions. To say that America is to blame for these deaths, because we've tried to enforce LEGAL immigration and do not choose to open our borders to whomever wishes to cross, as the man in Lisa's link claimed, is seriously misguided and denies the free will of the people in question. However, that being said, civilians hunting these individuals down with rifles, instead of pursuing legal means of addressing the problem, is a fault. If they actually did as they claimed, and simply and responsibly reported the illegal activities they witnessed, that would be one thing, but to hunt other people down like animals is not acceptable, illegal or no.

It's a weighty issue that needs to be seriously addressed by our government. Responsible citizens who care about the issue should press their representatives for a solution (though, I recognize that this may be fruitless without votes to back up one's position come election time). Addressing "objectionable" criminal activity by becoming a criminal oneself is an act of deplorable hypocrisy that should be taken more seriously by the law enforcers in the area.

d.a.n said...

If the Minute Men are merely calling the border patrol / legal authorities,
then I don't see anything wrong with that. But if they
are coming into contact with any persons, then they
are vigilantes, and they are lying about their methods and

Instead, let's stick to the facts, and demand legal authorities address it properly:
[] On 13-Nov-2005, Brian Jackson, a Dallas policeman was shot and killed by an illegal alien, Juan Lizcano. Lizcano had become drunk and went to the home of his ex-girfriend to threaten her. As the police pursued Lizcano after he fled the woman's home, he shot Officer Jackson, who died later in the hospital. Officer Jackson was remembered by his fellow police as someone who loved his job and always went the extra mile.
[] Then, there is Jorge Hernandez, aka Jorge Soto, who killed Min Soon Chang, an 18-year-old college freshman, in a terrible head-on wreck while Hernandez was driving drunk. He had been arrested 3 previous times for drunk driving in 3 other states, and he had been deported to Mexico 17 times ! Why aren't illegal aliens deported instantly after being arrested for drunk driving?
[] Debbie Thomas, who was the mother of three, was killed in a head-on collision on Christmas Eve 2003 when her car was struck by a car being driven in the wrong direction by illegal alien, Narciso Garcia-Jimenez. He later escaped from his hospital bed and is still at large. The car he drove had no inspection sticker and was registered to another person. When Debbie's mom learned that her daughter's killer survived and escaped after being treated at the hospital, she said she felt "angry, bitter and sad, all at once."

Stuff like that happens every day. Especially where
I live (Texas), and other border states. It is not racist if you do not like illegal aliens trespassing our borders to come here, burden our schools,
hospitals, law enforcement, border patrol, health care, welfare,
and insurance systems, and bring disease and crime with them.
Some even vote in our elections using fake identification.

Stephanie said...


Having a problem with people who break the law and having problem with people who have a different ethnicity are certainly two separate things.

I wonder if the Minutemen would/do stop the non-hispanic individuals who sneak across the American/Mexican border.

Hooda Thunkit said...

The Minute Man Movement, although honorable in intent, is going to be turned towards the dark side unless the Government steps up and does their fricking job!

The gun toting "cowboy" types and the White Supremacists do not have the same intent or motives in their hearts...

No good can come from their participation.

d.a.n said...

That's right.
The government should be doing this.
Also, race should have absolutely nothing to do with it.