The Minuteman Project: Colombia Comes to Arizona
In an online recruiting effort that would impress Joe Trippi, approximately 500 well armed individuals known as The Minutemen, have come together in hopes they can guard the vast expanse of the US-Mexican border out in Arizona. Their mission: Deter illegal immigrants and protect these great United States of America.
Taking their name from the hand-picked forces from the 17th and 18th Century American militias that were selected "to fight at a minute's notice" -- the 21st century Minutemen come from all over the US, and have congregated in Arizona where they plan to act out their wildest Wyatt Earp fantasies. With their shotguns and egos fully loaded, the militia has set up camps up and down the border in Cochise County, Arizona, the supposed epicenter of illegal immigration into the United States.
"People have this impression we [are] a paramilitary group coming here to stir up trouble. It's so hard to convince them that ... we're peaceful," Joel Segal, a young member of the Minutemen told the Arizona Republic. "Obviously, we're armed, but that's just a part of us being out here. That doesn't mean that we're aggressive. That doesn't mean that we're violent."
Yeah right. Then what the hell are the guns for? Gopher hunting? It's not that they don't have a right to patrol the US border, or pack a loaded weapon. Sure they do have those rights. But do the Minutemen really think Mexicans sneaking across the border are looking for another Alamo? No, scratch that. Forget I even asked.
Doubtful the Minutemen are capable of peering below the surface of the complex issue of US immigration. Like, say, what is it that the US government is doing to Mexico that may be increasing non-legal immigration? One answer: NAFTA.
If it is their own jobs they are so worried about, the Minutemen are patrolling the wrong borders. Non-legals by and large are employed in the darker sectors of the US economy -- ones most Americans aren't willing to take part in.
All a skeptic need do is drive through the fruit fields of California, take a peak into the sweat-shops in New York City, or visit a bloody slaughter house out in Greeley, Colorado, to catch a glimpse of the grand Mexican life in the USA.
No, the real threat to American jobs isn't illegal immigrants. It's the outsourcing of entire industries to places like India.
The Minutemen may also be surprised to learn the following: According to the US Census administered in 2000, there are approximately 8,705,419 non-legal foreign-born persons living in the US. Of that number, 4,787,980 were from countries other than Mexico. In fact, almost 40% of all US immigrants were not even Hispanic. 
Well over 1.2 million were from Asian countries, with another 1.1 million flying in from European lands -- not to mention the hundreds of thousands who have come in from Africa and the Middle East. The majority of these immigrants didn't cross the Mexican border -- they flew over on airplanes.
"The message is, if you have enough manpower at the border, you can stop illegals from coming across," Cathy Cushman of the Minutemen Project told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
No question Cathy and her pals have their work cut out for them. Even so, I'd love to see the nutty Minutemen haul their arsenal and set up camp in the JFK airport.
Okay, you're right. Let's not give them any ideas.
Joshua Frank is the author of the forthcoming book, Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, to be published by Common Courage Press. You can pre-order a copy at discounted rate at www.BrickBurner.org. Josh can be reached at: [email protected].
 Note: this number includes "people who are here legally but are not yet included in the official estimates of legal migrants and refugees. It also includes people in 'quasi-legal' status who are awaiting action on their legal migration requests."
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