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Archive for Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Minuteman group says it was wrongly portrayed

October 9, 2007

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— National leaders of a group opposed to illegal immigration were in Kansas City on Monday to answer criticism they believe is wrongly portraying the group.

Officers of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, which patrols the border and reports illegal immigrants to authorities, also announced they will be bringing their regional leadership conference to Kansas City in February instead of December as originally planned. They said they were having problems finding a place to book their convention in December because of the holidays.

President and founder Chris Simcox and others from the Arizona-based organization met with the Kansas City police chief and local media Monday, hoping to clear up what they say has been misinformation about their organization and its intent. He said Minuteman members serve as watchdogs on the lookout for illegal activity.

Members of the Minuteman group, which has a Kansas City area chapter, say they are not vigilantes. They say they're concerned citizens who report illegal immigration activity to police and other authorities.

"We're an organization that does not take the law into its own hands," Simcox said. "We're there to support law enforcement, to observe and report."

Last month, the group announced it would hold a meeting in Kansas City after one of its local members found herself at the center of controversy over her appointment to the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Board this summer.

"Kansas City is a perfect spot within the center of the nation," Simcox said Monday. "Geographically, it will accommodate our needs to hold a Midwestern retreat. And certainly it's in support of Frances (Semler) in standing by her principles."

Semler's appointment has drawn sharp criticism from the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic advocacy group, as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Both organizations have threatened to cancel conventions scheduled for Kansas City.

Joe Miller, a spokesman for Mayor Mark Funkhouser, said Monday that the mayor is working with NCLR and the NAACP to reach an agreement so they will still have their conventions in Kansas City. Funkhouser has said he will not ask Semler to resign.

NCLR spokeswoman Lisa Navarrete said the group is talking to the mayor's office and Hispanic community leaders in Kansas City about "some options that might address the concerns of all the parties involved."

Semler said she can't believe her involvement in the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has generated so much attention.

"I've heard that I'm a racist and a bigot, and that's absolutely false," Semler said.

Ed Hayes, director of the Minuteman chapter in the Kansas City area, said he expects at least 500 people at the group's regional leadership conference Feb. 1-2. The conference will include workshops on how members can work with law enforcement, group officials said.

Kansas City police Capt. Rich Lockhart said the Minuteman group initiated the meeting with Police Chief James Corwin. Lockhart said it's not uncommon for groups that are having events in the city to talk to police beforehand.

"They were wanting to discuss their convention and other issues they have concerns about as it relates to immigration," he said.

Comments

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 3 months ago

Kudos to the Minutemen for their important work.

RedwoodCoast 7 years, 3 months ago

You can't look me in the eye and tell me that group doesn't attract racists and bigots. And you can't tell me that these people are motivated simply by reining in people who are breaking the law. Kudos to the Minutement and their supporters for not being outraged if a family of legal Mexican immigrants working hard for little money moved in next door. Odds are they would find something to complain about.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 3 months ago

Redwood,

Assumptions and hyperbole. You're just guessing and generalizing.

jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

"SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) says:

Redwood,

Assumptions and hyperbole. You're just guessing and generalizing."

Aaaaahahahahahahaha!!!! Try reading your own comment history with the same stringency, STRS.

staff04 7 years, 3 months ago

As the old saying goes, "one bad apple..."

I think this goes for any group that has opponents. Crying about it doesn't get you anywhere, it only brings attention to the opponents' criticisms.

badger 7 years, 3 months ago

When I think about the MInutemen, I wonder if the discussions of race and bigotry and vigilantism don't overshadow a much larger issue: our borders are so poorly and inefficiently guarded that private citizens feel a need to supplement law enforcement. Does that seem right to you?

Aside from the obvious illegal immigrants crossing our borders secretly, we have a huge problem with people who enter the country with forged documentation, people on expired visas, people who come in on student visas and work instead of going to school, people who import mail-order brides (adults and minors) from impoverished countries. We have an even bigger problem in the coyotes (the people who bring in truckloads of immigrants for exorbitant 'crossing fees', abandoning them to die in the desert if they think they've been spotted, often robbing or raping those they transport, and sometimes 'arranging' jobs for people that bear a shocking resemblance to slavery), the marriage brokers who sell 'demure and pleasant' child brides from Southeast Asia and the former Soviet Bloc, and the employers who set up illegal operations staffed with illegal immigrants too afraid to report beatings, rapes, and other abuses to the authorities.

That we are so unable to deal with this that people like the MInutemen think they're needed is a bigger concern than whether individual Minutemen are bigots or racists.

staff04 7 years, 3 months ago

Oooooh, a real zinger from the sadist...

I love when people make substantive arguments like yours...

Since americorps isn't backing the "facts" with any sources, I have to remain skeptical...but if I had to guess...I'd at least guess you didn't have any substantive response, so you opted for ad hominem.

oldvet 7 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, maybe questionable funding, but for some reason, I just don't see moveon.org wanting to step up and support anyone wanting enforcement of the existing immigration laws of this country...

jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

I would just say that with the KKK, they were targeting the underclass blacks in an effort to intimidate them. The minutemen, on face value, can claim with factual accuracy that the only people they are concerned with are criminal fugitives. If you can't see any difference there, I don't think anything that I or anybody else is going to say is going to change your mind, neh?

Just simply saying that they shouldn't be allowed in and helping law enforcement prevent them from coming in does not make KKK style hatred. At least not in my opinion.

badger 7 years, 3 months ago

oldvet:

I think the better question than "Would moveon.org support it?" is "Why do private citizens have to take this on at all?" Sure, it's easy to fling accusations from left to right and back again, to challenge one group as bigoted or another as biased, but I will say that Moveon.org does support people who are vocal and outspoken about the fact that there's a problem with the system and those existing laws aren't working, as do conservative organizations (though the conservative groups support different groups that point out different problems and suggest different solutions, they all support people who say, "That's not right...").

The system's broken. Badly. We have a subclass of illegal immigrants in this country badly exploited and abused, and no way to stop the fresh supply of them coming in every day or regulate the people who are exploiting them. Even in affluent Austin, there are some horrible places to live where the landlords save themselves the hassle of maintenance by not checking green cards on their renters, and a cursory call-around of lawn services got me hung up on almost half the time when I asked if they could provide citizenship documentation for all their workers if requested.

The existing laws aren't fixing the problem, and I myself don't support someone who advocates just enforcing those. They're not hard enough on the coyotes and the sweatshops and the landlords, which means they'll never end the system.

jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

They may be prejudiced and racist, but personally I would refrain from grouping them with the KKK until all the facts are in. They have a claim to the idea that they, perhaps, are more directly affected by the phenomenon than we can probably say.

jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

Hmmmm. . . . my grammaring is somewhat poor, today.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 3 months ago

Why are there 47 Mexican Consulates fighting city halls across this nation and meddling into the politics of the United states.

badger 7 years, 3 months ago

RedwoodCoast said:

"You can't look me in the eye and tell me that group doesn't attract racists and bigots."

?

We can't look you in the eye and tell you anything. We're on the Internet.

Ceallach 7 years, 3 months ago

There seems to be an assumption that all members of the Minutemen are white males. That is not true. I have family in the southern sections of both Texas and New Mexico. Many Mexican-Americans and legal immigrants join with the "white men" to lessen the flow of illegal immigrants into our country. Don't let the crowds you see in LA, DC or NY, protesting with Mexican flags fool you. They do not represent all Mexican-Americans or legal immigrants. Illegals take jobs and resources that should be available to those who are here legally and are in need of help. Many legals do not receive that help because the coffers can only support a finite number of people.

Sitting here in the midwest, buffered by a big blue circle, it's easy to loose track of the damage being done to the economies, schools and health care providers in border states by the unending river of illegals coming across the border, showing up at hospitals, schools, etc., depleting those states' resources at an alarming rate.

The financial intimidation tactics used by NCLR and NAACP should not be rewarded.

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