Minuteman Project to Launch U.S. Caravan

Hemmy So, Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2006

Seeking to counter mass demonstrations by immigrant rights groups, organizers of the Minuteman Project plan to launch a nationwide caravan in Los Angeles today that will focus, in large part, on the jobs they contend are lost to illegal immigrants.

In particular, the group hopes to highlight the concern over job losses in the African American community.

“They are the most harmed by illegal immigration, and it’s time that we focused our efforts in our inner cities,” said Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist, who plans to kick off the nine-day caravan to Washington, D.C., at 8 a.m. in Leimert Park.

“Over 40% of black teenagers are unemployed. Overall unemployment in the black community is double that of white Americans,” said Gilchrist, whose group sends private citizens on border patrols to stop illegal immigration. “They are the most harmed by illegal immigration, and it’s time we focused our efforts in our inner cities where help is needed most.”

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Black leaders who plan to attend the kickoff event include Ted Hayes, founder of the Crispus Attucks Brigade, an African American group fighting the influx of undocumented migrants, and the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny. The Minuteman Project counts about 200 African Americans among its 200,000 members, said Tim Bueler, a spokesman for the group.

Although the caravan wouldn’t necessarily stop in black communities, Hayes said, he supported the Minuteman Project because its larger cause honors civil rights won by black Americans.

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