Posted on June 21, 2005

ACLU Suspends Southern Chapter Over Minuteman Issue

AP, June 20

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico suspended its Las Cruces chapter Monday after learning that a member of the group’s board was heading the formation of a Minuteman-style organization in New Mexico.

Gary Mitchell, a Ruidoso attorney and president of the ACLU board of directors, said the suspension of the southern chapter was a technical move to make sure the leader of the New Mexico Minutemen — a spinoff of the controversial civilian border patrol group the Minuteman Project — no longer had authority to act or speak on behalf of the ACLU.

“We will not tolerate racism and vigilantism in the leadership structure of our organization,” Mitchell said. “They are repugnant to the principles of civil liberties and the mission of the ACLU.”

Clifford Alford is the leader of the New Mexico Minutemen. The phone went unanswered Monday evening at his home in Organ.

Alford has said he’s not a hateful vigilante and that he would like to see immigration policy reformed. He has said that if the federal government allowed more immigrant workers to enter the country legally, many problems on the border would be solved.