reappropriate

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Minutemen are dead! Long live the Minutemen!

Of all the possible outcomes of the Minutemen Project, this was probably the least probable, as far as I was concerned. CNN reports that Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minutemen Project, is abandoning the project to go to D.C. to lobby for stricter immigration policies. When asked why he was wrapping up the Minutemen Project weeks halfway through its expected run, he said "We're bored to death." Nice to know that the vigilante pursuit of illegal immigration was little more than a weekend diversion.

Minuteman founder leaving Mexico border area 'We're bored to death' TUCSON, Arizona (AP) -- The chief organizer of the Minuteman Project, which attracted hundreds of volunteers to watch for illegal immigrants and smugglers along the Mexican border, said Monday he's leaving his post early. Jim Gilchrist said the watch project has been a success and will continue through the end of the month as planned, but under a different name. "The operation is continuing, but it's not under the Minuteman Project," Gilchrist said. "There's nothing for us to do here. We're bored to death. But people are staying here." Gilchrist said he'll leave Arizona probably on Wednesday. He plans to appear before the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus next week in Washington, along with watch co-organizer Chris Simcox, then return only briefly to Arizona. Volunteers now in Arizona or coming through April 30 will fall under the auspices of Civil Homeland Defense, another illegal immigrant monitoring group that Simcox has operated in Arizona for years, Gilchrist said. The civilian volunteers, some of whom are armed, arrived on April 1 and began spreading out a few days later along a 23-mile stretch of desert between the border communities of Naco and Douglas. They alert authorities when they see someone cross the border illegally, but are not allowed to detain anyone. Organizers said more than 700 volunteers have completed the training session and spent at least one eight-hour shift in the field, according to the project's Web site. It's uncertain how many are staying for the duration. Law enforcement officials have said they feared the project will lead to vigilante violence, an accidental confrontation between armed volunteers and authorities, or a dangerous encounter with the violent smugglers who use the area. No problems have been reported thus far. Border Patrol spokesman Andy Adame expressed surprise at Monday's announcement. "Gilchrist said it (the project) was going to run for a month. He takes off halfway through and declares victory? Sounds kind of strange," Adame said. Gilchrist said the Minuteman Project "did in 10 days what all the lobbyists could not do in 10 years" in reducing the flow of illegal immigrants through part of Cochise County, one of Arizona's busiest illegal immigration corridors. He said that for the first 15 days of April, Border Patrol agents in the Naco area apprehended fewer than 2,500 people. Apprehensions in the area totaled 7,672 for the same period last year.
At least the fifteen minutes are finally up. Gilchrist and his Minutemen might've been bored sitting in the Arizona desert drinking beer armed with a lawnchair, a firearm, and a pair of binoculars, but I'm sure I speak for all of us on the left that we were even more bored being incessantly inundated with propaganda touting these men as national heroes.

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