crossposted from ourword.org

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an organization working to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, announced this week that it would send observers to watch day laborers in Houston beginning in October. Previous plans called for placing patrols only along the Mexican border.

This is a new element in the Minutemen’s definition of the border. The distance from Houston to Brownsville, Texas (on the United States, Mexico border) by automobile is 356 miles. The distance from Houston to Laredo Texas (also on the border) is 350 miles. Long-time Houston area activists plan on observing the Minutemen.

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Houston, July 9th

“For every Minuteman patrolling, we will have at least 10 people patrolling them,” said Maria Jimenez, a longtime local activist now associated with the Central American Resource Center, or CRECEN.

Jimenez and CRECEN leader Teodoro Aguiluz threatened to file a lawsuit if they observe the Minutemen doing anything  illegal.

The Minutemen in Texas originated out of a series of meetings this year in Goliad County, where landowners have become alarmed by the illegal immigrants being smuggled along the area’s rural roads. Ranchers and other owners began holding meetings, and area law officers attended.

Background: Oral History Interview with María Jiménez, Tejano voices, 1998,  
The Central American Resource Center, or CRECEN. and The Official Minuteman Civil Defense Corps

The Goliad Meetings

“Our children can’t get out into our yards,” rancher and Texas Minuteman leader Bill Parmley told the group. “We’re afraid. Something has to be done.”

 Many volunteers complained that their lives have been ‘turned upside down’ by the surge in illegal immigration. They told of having illegals kicking down doors, damaging their property, and stealing livestock.

Minutemen organizer Chris Simcox said he plans to have four chapters of the group patrolling the Texas-Mexico border in October. A Minuteman action in Arizona in April had mixed results.

But several civil rights leaders at the rally said the Minutemen go a lot further than that. Che Lopez compared the volunteers at last night’s rally to the Ku Klux Klan.

“Just basically racially profiling people. Pulling them out of their cars. Intimidating them.”

Houston, July 10th

Bee County Sheriff Carlos Carrizales said he attended the first two meetings (the Goliad meetings) but stopped going after becoming concerned by the tone.

“During the second meeting, someone in the back shouted: ‘Can’t we just shoot ’em,’ ” in reference to illegal immigrants, Carrizales recalls. “Then others started to feed on that.”

I find it not too surprising that this action is being conducted in Houston. Obviously this action has little to do with border observation.  But I suppose if they held their demonstration in a large Metropolitan area nearer the border (San Antonio, or El Paso perhaps, or even Austin) their demonstration would be met with even more resistance. After all,  in Texas…

Sunday’s news, Houston Texas, July 11th

Law enforcement officials in Houston began meeting Saturday to discuss strategies for keeping the peace when the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps sends observers to the city in October to patrol for illegal immigrants.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, who organized Saturday’s meeting of law enforcement officials, said she is concerned that the Minutemen’s plans to expand their activities to a diverse city such as Houston could become confrontational.

“I will say, as a member of Congress, I do not claim the Minutemen are criminals,” said Jackson Lee. “I do claim they are acting in an unauthorized way and may be characterized even as militia. When that occurs in a population, what you have is a mixture of confrontation that makes the jobs of these law enforcement individuals more difficult.”

I post this diary in memory of  Esequiel Hernandez, Jr., 18, a high school age goatherder from Redford, Texas who killed in a Texas border control/protection incident , on May 20, 1997.

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