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  1. #1

    232 Year Later, Minutemen Return to Douglas, AZ (opinion)

    Moderator edit: April 4, 2005 ... see for letter to editor regarding opinion



    (text added and headline edited by moderator)

    SEIFFE: 232 Year Later, Minutemen Return to Douglas, AZ?
    Thursday, March 31, 2005

    - Ralf Seiffe

    OPINION - Tomorrow, near Douglas, Arizona, a group calling itself “The Minuteman Project� will begin patrolling the border between Arizona and Mexico. These volunteers, numbering as many as 1,000 individuals, will observe the flow of illegal immigrants and report what they see to the border patrol.

    News reports indicate why something needs to be done in Douglas. The flow of illegals has destroyed the border area’s rustic lifestyle and has wrecked the indigenous ranching economy. The pressure that thousands of economically-motivated campesinos, coyotes and drug smugglers put on the fragile passageways between Mexico and Arizona have turned these beautiful swales into garbage-strewn highways.

    Over the last 40 years, the number of illegals has accumulated to as many as 14 million people. This is additive to legal immigrants and the total rivals the number who made their way here during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

    This massive immigration is quite different than the European migration of a hundred years ago. An ocean also stood between the immigrants and their landing pad on Ellis Island. Prospective immigrants were admitted to the U.S. only after meeting minimal health and character standards. Officials immediately began the assimilation process by anglicizing names and sending the newly arrived on to lives as “Americans�.

    There is no Ellis Island on our southern border to bar tuberculars, drug dealers and terrorists. Until there is, Mexicans and what the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) calls “OTMs� (Other than Mexicans), these illegals will continue to pour across our borders.

    As simple as it sounds, it is important to remember that it is illegal to cross the border only because the federal government says it is.

    The Constitution prohibits Arizona from having its own foreign policy and from protecting its citizens from the invasion of illegals. Because Arizona is prohibited from calling the National Guard and stopping the invasion, the citizens of Arizona are right to expect its government to effectively execute the laws of the Union.

    This is different than expecting the police to protect you from a random street crime. The movement of illegals is massive, predictable and in many ways, malignant. It is organized crime, sponsored by a foreign government, which distributes instructions to help the illegals evade detection and break American laws.

    The Minuteman Project rises because a significant number of Americans are profoundly unhappy with the job the government is doing to protect our borders.

    Handwringers everywhere, especially in the media, worry that there will be violence between the Minuteman volunteers and the illegals. They fret over the threat of violence issued by that gangster in federal prison suspected of leading the notorious Mara Salvatrucha street gang. He’s asked his thugs to “teach a lesson� to the volunteers because they will be observing the gang’s slaving and drug smuggling operations.

    This is a red herring.

    The Minuteman project eschews activity that would lead to any sort of confrontation. The organization’s motto is “Operating within the law to support enforcement of the law�.

    They have produced a “Standard Operating Procedure� to regulate their activities and to ensure that no harm comes to the volunteers or the illegals. The volunteers are warned how dangerous druggers and slavers can be and provided with techniques to avoid them. Project leaders tell prospective volunteers to stay away if they will not conform to the rules.

    The Minuteman Project is clearly a militia. Its purpose is exactly what Article 1 of the Constitution says a militia is to do---“..execute the laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.�. Its Standard Operating Procedure creates its rules of engagement and the extraordinary effort to avoid any violence also makes it a “well regulated Militia�.

    The Minuteman Project is scheduled to operate for a month. It will be interesting to see if the organization is able to maintain its initial 1,000 member strength, keep its radios and airplanes operating and if its members observe the Standard Operating Procedure.

    Even more interesting will be how the Project and the federal government get along.

    The Project is a no-confidence vote in how the ICE is managing its border operations and there is nothing more dangerous than a bureaucracy that feels threatened by a citizen group. Worry more about the volunteers than the invaders.

    There’s a good reason for this. ICE has reached equilibrium with the illegals. In Douglas and along more than 1,000 miles of border between the U.S. and Mexico, the massive lawbreaking has essentially become the status quo. The U.S. government is comfortable with the situation but the appearance of the Minutemen will disturb their comfort zone.

    The government will tolerate these “interlopers� for the month but, if the volunteers are able to sustain their effort, the situation will become intolerable for the government.

    Calling attention to the embarrassing situation in Douglas will discomfit bureaucrats and they will seek a return to the status quo ante.

    To return, the government will find it easier to deal with the Minutemen than to solve the underlying problem. This may lead to a confrontation with the bureaucrats and shows the real reason why the founders provided well regulated militias the right to keep and bear arms.

    Regardless of the outcome in Douglas, and one hopes it is profoundly uneventful, the appearance of an ethical militia brings a larger question: Why is it necessary? Is the conservative majority so frustrated with unfathomable judicial decisions and venal politicians that they are taking direct action? Are they rising against a publicly-maintained professoriate to protect the western values that made this country great? Are they firing the first rhetorical shot at the “black robes� and their co-conspirators in the ACLU? Will positive results in Douglas embolden other citizen action groups to try their hand at enforcing the nation’s laws?

    Discontent with the government compelled another group of minutemen into direct action 232 years ago. They sparked the greatest experiment in self-government the world had ever seen. If the Minutemen succeed in Douglas, maybe we’ll continue to enjoy the results of that experiment. Stay tuned.

  2. #2

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    "This country has lost control of its borders. And no country can sustain that kind of position." .... Ronald Reagan

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