Herndon, Virginia-area residents concerned about illegal immigration met last night to organize a new chapter of the Minutemen, a group that gained notice across the country when its members began patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border.
Organizer George Taplin said those who met at the Herndon Fort Nightly Library are opposed to the taxpayer-funded, day-laborer center that town officials want to build, and want to expose employers, landlords and others who would exploit legal immigrants and illegal aliens at the center.
“This summer it came to a head,” said Mr. Taplin, a retired Navy officer. “I saw what was happening in terms of the Town Council and the mayor not paying attention to the constituency and I tried to get people to step up and do something about it.”
Mr. Taplin said he decided to take charge because many were eager to act but reluctant to lead. He arrived at a basic plan by searching the Internet and finding information on “Operation Spotlight” in Houston.
Problems began in Herndon when day laborers, including illegal aliens, began loitering outside a 7-Eleven store.
In response, town officials agreed to build a center, which was slated to open in mid-September on the Fairfax County line and would offer English classes and access to social workers. It would not check the immigration status of laborers.
Six residents, including Mr. Taplin, have since blocked the center by filing a lawsuit through national watchdog group Judicial Watch.
Herndon’s operation would also create a network of observers, informants, lawyers and retired law-enforcement personnel to help crack down on illegal aliens.
“Realistically what we’re looking for is the people who are going to get out on the street and make their presence known to let the employers know we’re not going to let them get away with this,” Mr. Taplin said. “We want to make sure that Herndon stays a law-abiding town.”
Members of the Herndon-area chapter would also photograph employers hiring illegal aliens at the town day-laborer center, follow them to work sites and report them to the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and state employment agencies.