Bill Hess, Sierra Vista Herald (Az.), Jan. 15
TOMBSTONE — The U.S. government has failed in controlling the border with Mexico and in April a group of volunteers will highlight the federal fiasco by doing the job through aerial and ground surveillance, said an organizer of the monthlong event.
Jim Gilchrist, who heads the Minuteman Project, and about 20 supporters met Friday night to talk about plans. He’s currently recruiting volunteers for the operation through a Web site.
During the meeting, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said that while he believes in keeping the laxness of the federal government’s border and immigration policies in the spotlight, whatever the group does in April and before the main program begins must not stray outside the law.
Based on the initial information he has gathered, Dever said it appears to him the Minuteman Project appears “to be pretty reasonable.”
Gilchrist’s Web site has the image of Uncle Sam saying “The U.S. Wants You!” It states that the Minuteman Project is seeking volunteers to spend up to 30 days along the Arizona border as part of a blocking force against entry into the United States.
“I invite you to join me in Tombstone, Ariz., from April 1-30, 2005, to protect our country from a 40-year-long invasion across our southern border with Mexico,” Gilchrist says on his Web site.
Part of the reason for coming to Arizona is to help Chris Simcox, publisher of the Tombstone Tumbleweed, and the Civil Homeland Defense he heads. Gilchrist said Simcox has been protecting the border with a handful of “patriotic volunteers.”
“It is time we provided him with reinforcements,” he said.
He said he knows the Minuteman Project will face opponents who will not want him and other volunteers to patrol the border.
The reason the project is named Minuteman is to remind U.S. citizens of those men in the 1700s who responded to danger and became the first line of defense in the Revolutionary War, Gilchrist said.