The Minuteman Project

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The Minuteman Project

Postby Grant » Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:39 pm

The Minuteman Project has been a success! It has shown to frustrate would-be illegal entrants into this country.

It's a damn shame that it takes common citizens to do what the US government won't!

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Postby Matt » Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:55 am
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Minuteman Project is an initiative by a group of private citizens in the United States to monitor that country's border with Mexico for the entry of illegal immigrants. Participants in the project, which began in April 2005, hope to help prevent illegal immigration by alerting the United States Border Patrol to attempts by immigrants to cross the border. Organizers suggest that over 1,000 volunteers will patrol the U.S. border between Naco and Douglas in Cochise County, a span of twenty-three miles (37 km) along the Arizona–Sonora border. Law enforcement officials stated that they fear the project will lead to vigilante violence.

The group takes its name from the minutemen who fought in the American Revolution. Its principal director is James Gilchrist, with Chris Simcox serving as spokesman. It describes itself as "a citizens' Neighborhood Watch along our border."

On April 2, Minuteman Project volunteers near Naco reported the illegal immigration of 18 people, resulting in the offenders being arrested by authorities. As of April 6, 531 volunteers had been positioned, for some period of time, along the patrolled region.

Support for the Minuteman Project

The U.S. Border Patrol Local 2544, which covers the Tucson sector of the border, has endorsed the Minuteman Project. Stating that "We want to make it clear – because we've had a lot of questions about this – we have not had one single complaint from a rank-and-file agent in this sector about the Minutemen," says a statement on the site. "Every report we've received indicates these people are very supportive of the rank-and-file agents; they're courteous. Many of them are retired firefighters, cops, and other professionals, and they're not causing us any problems whatsoever."


The project generated controversy. Without referring to the group by name, United States President George W. Bush, expressed dislike for "vigilante" justice in a spring 2005 speech. Mexican President Vicente Fox also criticized the group. Organizers and supporters sought to reassure opponents that the group would only be reporting incidents to law enforcement, not directly confronting immigrants. The volunteers viewed themselves as calling attention to what they claim is a lack of attention to illegal immigration in the U.S.

Accusations of racism
Hector Carreon of Voz de Aztlán writes ( "The Minutemen and its leadership have proven themselves to be nothing less than a gang of anti-Mexican racists and their actions have the potential of alienating Mexico, its government and the millions of Americans of Mexican descent on this side of the border."

Coinciding with the April 2005 operation, National Alliance fliers were distributed in Douglas, Nogales, and Bisbee. National Alliance chairman Erich Gliebe stated these fliers were distributed specifically to bolster the Minuteman Project. Simcox, Minuteman Project spoksman, denies a relationship.

T-shirt incident
On April 6, three Minuteman Project volunteers convinced a 26-year-old man to hold a T-shirt and pose for a photograph and a video with one of the volunteers. The T-shirt, which was also worn by volunteer Bryan Barton, read "Bryan Barton caught me crossing the border and all I got was this lousy T-shirt"

The volunteer encountered the suspect near a main highway while off duty from patrolling. Believing the man to be in distress from exposure and lack of fluids and food, the volunteer gave him a bowl of cereal and milk. He then contacted the Border Patrol. The volunteer reportedly shook the suspect's hand, held up a lettered T-shirt to commemorate the event, and gave the man USD $20 as the U.S. Border Patrol arrived and took the suspect into custody. Critics of the MMP raised questions about the incident, but an investigation by the Cochise County Sheriff's office cleared the volunteer of any wrongdoing. The Border Patrol and the Mexican consul agreed that no crime had been committed.

Project organizers, however, said they have a more restrictive policy that no contact at all can be made with suspects. Project volunteers are only allowed to observe suspected aliens and then report those observations to the Border Patrol. The project co-founder, Chris Simcox, said, "The volunteer's actions were admirable, justified and undeniably humane, but unfortunately they jeopardized our established procedures and overall purpose of passively monitoring the border. It's unfortunate, but we had to dismiss him from further participation."

Although, Bryan Barton is planning to run for Congress in 2006 in the 53rd district against incumbent Susan Davis, he has not yet filed. Barton's website for his Republican campaign can be found at

Barton was also the editor of THE KOALA — a student humor and political newspaper, published at the University of California, San Diego (see

The ACLU issued a press release concerning this incident: ACLU of Arizona Denounces Unlawful Imprisonment of Immigrant by Minuteman Volunteer ( ... 17965&c=22).

Counter-watchdog groups
Various media representatives and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) observers are also in the patrol zone attempting to observe Minutemen volunteers at work. ACLU observers set off Border Patrol ground movement sensors while watching MMP volunteers. The MMP initially arranged monitoring positions with the U.S. Border Patrol; it was confirmed that if MMP observers stayed within predetermined stationary areas, sensors would not be triggered. However, ACLU observers and some media have been walking up washes in order to observe MMP volunteers, and in doing so, have set off Border Patrol sensors.

Harris, Paul: "Vigilantes gather for Arizona round-up of illegal migrants ( ... 42,00.html)", The Observer, (27 March 2005)
Smith-Spark, Laura: "'Vigilantes' set for Mexico border patrol (", BBC News, (28 March 2005)
Glaister, Dan: "US vigilantes begin border stake-out (,1 ... 62,00.html)", The Guardian, (2 April 2005)
Carroll, Susan: "Minutemen watch for migrants ( ... men03.html)", The Arizona Republic, (3 April 2005)
DeFalco, Beth: "Border Group Report Results in Arrests ( ... =printable)", San Francisco Chronicle, (3 April 2005)
Billeaud, Jacques: "Minuteman Project Reports Results ( ... 2828.shtml)", Associated Press, (4 April 2005)
Hess, Bill: "After incident, man asked to leave Minuteman Project ( ... /news4.txt)", Sierra Vista Herald, (8 April 2005)
"Border Patrol union supports Minutemen. Says it has had no complaints about monitors, blasts Bush over amnesty ( ... E_ID=43859)",, (18 April 2005)