Warm Welcome in Texas for Minutemen
(GOLIAD, TEXAS) -- There was no shortage of volunteers last night as the controversial Minuteman civilian border patrol organization gathered in this historic south Texas town to organize anti illegal immigrant activities in Texas. Many volunteers said illegal immigration needs to be stopped, and since the federal government is unable or unwilling to do it, then its up to civilians to step in and get it done. "Our children can't get out into our yards," rancher and Texas Minuteman leader Bill Parmley told the group. "We're afraid. Something has to be done." The location of the meeting in Goliad was significant. The city was the home of many of the volunteers who died fighting the Mexican army at the Alamo in 1836. The unit which delivered a cannon the Alamo along with a flag that carried the defiant message 'come and take it.'
Many volunteers complained that their lives have been 'turned upside down' by the surge in illegal immigration. They told of having illegals kicking down doors, damaging their property, and stealing livestock.
And there was a lot of frustration with what the volunteers perceived to be the federal government's inaction on the problem. "We have met with our senators, we have sent letters to President Bush, we have gone all the way to Washington, and still no response," Parmley told 1200 WOAI's Charity McCurdy. "All we're doing is what President bush asked us to do after 9-11, to be observant citizens and look for suspicious activity and call it in. That's all we're doing."
But several civil rights leaders at the rally said the Minutemen go a lot further than that. Che Lopez compared the volunteers at last night's rally to the Ku Klux Klan. "Just basically racially profiling people. Pulling them out of their cars. Intimidating them."
Minutemen organizer Chris Simcox said he plans to have four chapters of the group patrolling the Texas-Mexico border in October. A Minuteman action in Arizona in April had mixed results. "We are here at the invitation of Texans," Simcox said. "Over 7,000 requests from citizens of Texans who are fed up with President Bush, and are growing weary of the situation we have on our borders."
But not all Texans are excited about the presence of the Minutemen in Texas, and one of them is Senator John Cornyn, who this weekend introduced a measure calling for comprehensive changes in border security, and the hiring of 10,000 additional sworn officers of the U.S. Border Patrol. "I don't think that it is in the best interests of the country to have untrained people, who not withstanding their best of intentions, might find themselves involved in violent and unexpected situations along our border," Cornyn said, adding that he understands the 'frustrations' of the Minutemen and their supporters. "I recognize that citizens think it has fallen to them in the absence of the federal government living up to its responsibilities to provide that security along our border."
But last night in Golaid, volunteers weren't interested in Senate resolutions or debates on international migration. They are increasingly frustrated with that they see as a growing threat to their lives and the security of the United States, and they want action. "I don't think that the federal government has the ability to take care of it," one volunteer said. "I think they need help, and I'm ready to help."
Posted by: Steve 2005-06-21