America's Voice En Español »
One response to the appearance of children fleeing violence has been the reemergence of the Minutemen, aka the militia-style armed groups which take it upon themselves to patrol the border, which largely disappeared a few years ago after a number of incredibly unsavory events.
The thing about the Minutemen groups is that they tend to attract all sorts of highly questionable characters. Here’s a short list:
According to Mother Jones this week, Minutemen groups are having considerable difficulty re-banding, partly because of their ugly history and partly because of the enormous complications of patrolling a 2,000-mile long border. It’s no wonder then that Jim Gilchrist, co-founder of the Minutemen Project, has been on something of a public relations spree, insisting that people like Forde and Simcox were never Minutemen leaders, but fringe radicals. Gilchrist denied his connections with Forde and Simcox on a recent interview with Newsmax (h/t David Neiwert via Crooks and Liars):
GILCHRIST: Yes, there have been a couple of incidents of some very serious embarrassment, uh –– this conduct was not committed by anyone within the Minuteman Project but in rogue groups that used the Minuteman movement as a veil, essentially, to carry out sinister and criminal activities…
GILCHRIST: They weren’t card-carrying members of the Minuteman Project. We don’t have card-carrying members. We have anyone who agrees that we should be a nation governed by laws, not mob rule, that mob being 30 million illegal aliens, is an honorary member of the Minuteman Project. That gives me 280 million members. Not all of them agree with me, but I look at the movement itself as having 280 million members out of the 310 million population, who want our immigration laws enforced.
Shawna Forde was an associate of Gilchrist’s beginning in the spring of 2007, culminating in February of 2008, when he named Forde his “director of border operations.” Gilchrist’s Minuteman Project site avidly promoted Forde’s operations –– conducted under the name of her own group, “Minuteman American Defense” –– and he defended her from critics within the nativist anti-immigrant movement…
Forde kept in touch with Gilchrist and subsequently arranged for him to make an appearance in February 2008 at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, about a hundred-mile drive from Seattle. Gilchrist at the time was embroiled in heated lawsuits and disputes with his former board of directors over ownership of the Minuteman Project, and he no longer had any functioning presence on the borders; Forde offered to step up and take on the job. Gilchrist became so enamored of Forde that, on February 9, he directed his staff to “put Shawna in the website as our border patrol coordinator.”
This incredibly troubling history of the Minutemen is probably why Gilchrist underlined one key stipulation in his recent call for civilian border patrols in 2015:
It is only by one rule that I would expect people to present themselves and participate, and that one simple rule is: Whatever you do, you stay within the rule of law. And there are no exceptions.
Of course, as David Neiwert points out, Shawna Forde, too, regularly preached about “the rule of law,” and how the “illegal alien invasion” was a slap in its face. She even placed the words “Rule of Law” at the center of the logo she had designed for her MAD website.
And look how that turned out.