The Minutemen in New York

In my last post, I referred in passing to the Minuteman Project's recent expansion into the Northeast with a border patrol in northern New York (check out this New York Sun article and this one from a TV station in Watertown). Since this discussion of immigration and border control is hot right now and my post sparked a debate on NYCO's blog, I thought I would comment again here.

To many, the Minutemen have become heroes willing to "do what Congress won't." However, there is a fundamentally violent and racist foundation to their rhetoric and techniques, regardless of their group's public lip service to harmonious multiculturalism. This foundation means that it has become a magnet for hate mongers. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a prominent opponent of organized hate has been carefully following the movement, here are some quotes from an article on it:

Numerous white supremacists have claimed in online postings to be registered as Minuteman volunteers. One who posted to the Minuteman Project forum on the major white power website Stormfront wrote: "While this project is not a White racialist event, per se, it's a project that deserves backing from the White Nationalist community in general."

A self-professed member of the white supremacist organization National Alliance posted to the same forum: "While Minuteman is not affiliated with 'Hate Groups' (like the ones you or I belong to), most of the volunteers smell smoke and know there's a fire that needs putting out. This is a good opportunity to reach out to people who are 'half
awake' and help them the rest of the way. I'm a missionary for racism and I see fertile recruiting ground!"

Here is another article on racists infiltrating the organization from the SPLC. This southwesterner has been collecting information on how members of anti-immigrant groups have assaulted non-whites, produce racist propaganda, burn crosses, etc. I have even been finding unconfirmed reports (here, here and here) of Minutmen murdering those they believe are illegal immigrants in the borderlands.

I myself once worked as a mountain guide in the southwestern mountains with young "cowboys" (a title of self-identification) from Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and New Mexico who bragged about knowing ranchers along the border who were hiring white ex-military men to patrol their lands, kill unauthorized Mexicans and bury them in the desert. They talked about the pay (great), the excitement of the hunt, the guns (most excellent in their eyes) and the intangible chance to "defend America." It was disgusting and eye opening. These young men that I worked with, I'm afraid, were not the only folk in the region to consider killing an illegal immigrant more of a game than a crime and that is what I fear the Minutemen bring to the table.

It troubles me as a York Stater that these people are extending their work to our great state. Here, however, they cannot claim to fight the "brown hordes" so instead talk about Arabs and Chinese, about how terrorists are going to use Chinese restaurants as a network to support their actions and other absolute absurdities. They don't recruit from our communities, but instead do their work in all-white bedroom communities around the City. I don't need folk from Long Island to come up here with guns led by hate mongers to tell us that our traditions of cooperation and friendship with the Canadians should be cause for fear and that we should hate those with dark skins despite our history of racial tolerance (which is impressive despite periodic intolerance). Their violence has no place in the North Country and I have no problem taking a strong stance against them and all they do.

-Posted by Jesse


JS said...

Not to sound cold, but essentially, "show me a body." If what you allege is actually occurring, it'd be only a matter of time before hard proof emerges. Complete speculation helps neither side in this debate.

Jesse said...

Perhaps it will require a body to convince you, but I prefer to do my best to avoid having anyone die. Doesn't it seem harsh to require some other human being to die before you take a stance against vigilanteism?

Complete speculation perhaps would be frivolous, but I don't think I did any of that in this post. I have laid out reports by a respected organization on the number of racists in these groups, discussed my own experience with the culture of anti-mexican violence in the region and put up links with reports of violence. The assault with an automobile of two Mexican-Americans by a Minuteman is well documented in the news, the other stories are vaguer and I have not claimed to know their authenticity, I present them and allow you to make a decision.

What I am saying is that I believe that this is a subculture that runs in opposition to our local traditions and values and that here in New York we should be informed of what they have been accused of elsewhere and what they are trying to do here. I feel that their brand of "law enforcement" should not be accepted by our communities and if we have a problem with illegal immigration, than we should do something about it ourselves, not rely upon outside vigilantes.

Jesse said...

Also, check out this booklet by the Anti-Defamation League on the dangers of border vigilantees and the rising death toll (note that this is a PDF file and rather large): Border Disputes, Armed Vigilantes in Arizona

Natalie said...

A post over at Adirondack Musing about the New York Minutemen has some choice quotations and further linkage.

Natalie said...

A post about the NY Minutemen over at Adirondack Musing has some interesting quotes and further linkage.