Hispanic Group Challenges Minuteman Initiative

Keyonna Summers, Washington Times, Oct. 22

A Hispanic advocacy group is challenging plans by the Herndon Minutemen to videotape and report findings on illegal aliens at the town’s day-laborer center, describing such actions as racial profiling.

Members of the League of United Latin American Citizens say there is no way to distinguish legal immigrants from illegal aliens.

“If I sit in a corner and dress as [an illegal alien], they’d probably label me an immigrant,” Annandale resident Noelia Olivera, 22, said after a contentious organizational meeting of the Minutemen Thursday.

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Herndon-area Minutemen plan to videotape and photograph employers hiring illegal aliens at a recently approved 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.

The group also plans to monitor zoning violations, identify cases in which absentee landlords rent to illegal aliens and investigate instances of city officials offering public services to illegal aliens.

Modeling their approach on Houston’s “Operation Spotlight,” the Minutemen aim to hinder illegal immigration in Herndon by cracking down on employers, landlords and city officials who illegally aid aliens.

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About five of the roughly 60 Herndon-area residents at the Herndon Minutemen meeting walked out after an argument ensued between the opponents and organizer George Taplin.

The meeting became tense as Mr. Cabellos expressed his opposition to the group and a woman behind him shouted, “Sit down and shut up!”

Mr. Taplin, one of six residents named in a lawsuit against the town’s taxpayer-funded day-laborer center, said volunteers must undergo criminal and background checks to uncover any affiliations with extremist groups.

He said chapter members are not allowed to make racial remarks or gestures to the employers or laborers, or to respond to taunts. Such behavior is prohibited by the Minutemen code of conduct. Any member found guilty of violating that code would be dismissed, he said.

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