About 100 members of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an illegal-immigration watchdog group, rallied outside the U.S. Capitol yesterday to protest President Bush’s proposed guest-worker program and urge the government to send military troops to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
At one point, the group clashed with two Nazi demonstrators and about a dozen pro-immigration activists who came out to protest the Minuteman supporters.
Several Minutemen supporters said an estimated 3 million illegals who cross the border each year smuggle drugs, rape women, burden public services and steal jobs from U.S. citizens, especially from blacks and legal immigrants. The group began patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border last spring.
Jim Gilchrist, the group’s co-founder, and Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican, said Mr. Bush’s guest-worker plan creates an “amnesty” that would encourage more illegals to cross onto U.S. soil. The plan would allow U.S. employers to recruit immigrants and illegals already in the country for hard-to-fill positions.
Other speakers yesterday included Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican; the California Coalition for Immigration Reform; Americans for Immigration Control; and Mothers Against Illegal Aliens.
About 15 minutes into the rally, a dozen pro-immigration demonstrators interrupted the Minutemen and their supporters, by ringing bells and chanting “Minutemen, go away! Racist, sexist, anti-gay!” They also carried signs that read “Change Your Name, You’re Still the KKK” and “No One Is Illegal.”
Minutemen supporters surrounded the protesters and tried to shield them from view with signs.
Police escorted from the rally two demonstrators from the National Socialist Movement who wore swastika arm bands. The men called the Minutemen “sellouts” because the group denies that its stance on illegal entry is based on race or ethnicity.