Newspaper publisher Chris Simcox, who helped organize last month’s Minuteman vigils and promised more in the future, was denied access to a Department of Homeland Security press conference in Arizona last week.
Mr. Simcox, who writes for, edits and owns the Tombstone, Ariz., Tumbleweed, wants the American Civil Liberties Union to determine whether his First Amendment free-press rights were violated.
He said the Border Patrol refused to let him attend the Thursday press conference featuring Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who spoke in Douglas, Ariz., on the need for additional agents and increased technology to gain control of the Arizona border.
“I showed up with press credentials and was held outside the gate,” Mr. Simcox said, adding that he was told by a Border Patrol agent that Chief Michael Nicely, who heads the agency’s Tucson sector, had ordered him barred from the press conference.
Border Patrol spokesman Jose Garza in Tucson confirmed that Mr. Simcox was excluded from the press conference on the orders of Chief Nicely, but said it was “because of security reasons.”