Proposition 200 and the Minuteman Project have hurt the Open Borders Lobby, and here's our special report on their new stategies.

On Saturday, September 10, 2005, Border Guardians operatives attended an all-day meeting of the newly-formed Arizona Coalition for Migrant Rights at the Cartwright (public) School training center at 4242 N. 51st Avenue in Phoenix, AZ. It appeared that there were around 220 people in attendance, although the attendees thinned to less than half that as the day wore on.

The Coalition was formed by frightened Open Borders Lobbyists so that all the groups in AZ working for [illegal] "immigrant rights" could pool their resources and know what each other was doing. Tucson and Phoenix seem to be 2 different worlds, and this is an important logistical step in uniting organizations in both areas as well as the rest of Arizona. A common, frequently-used tactic was labeling all anti-illegal alien groups as "anti-immigrant," as if only illegal immigrants count. By making no distinction between border-jumpers and those who have waited their turn and gotten permission to enter the United States legally, the OBL is implying that law-breakers have the same status as those who obey the laws of their host country.

The message expressed by all participants was that everyone must UNIFY and ORGANIZE, even if organizing meant going door-to-door in the barrios to inform people of their "rights" and telling them who to vote for.

While one person said that there is always hope, the impact of both Proposition 200, lead by chairwoman Kathy McKee, and the Minuteman Project, the brainchild of Jim Gilchrist, cannot be overestimated. The Open Borders Lobby is seriously scared by the success of Prop. 200 and the Minuteman Project. Most vexing to all present was the fact that they couldn't get any dirt on MMP, or catch them doing anything wrong!! The pronounced tendency of the Left to lie, to try anything to achieve a goal, is revealed whenever they call the Minutemen "racist vigilantes," because they have no proof whatsoever of that. The public is just supposed to take their word for it. As far as any accusations are concerned, the Minutemen have been squeaky clean. No one in the group has made racist remarks, and there have never been any incidents of illegals being deprived of their "civil rights" while border-jumping into the United States.

But the lies didn't stop there. They just kept on coming all day. First, Isabel Garcia, who is the head of the Legal Defender's Office of Pima County (similar to the public defender), claimed that prior to 1994, there was no environmental damage to the borderlands! She says that since 1994, it's all been caused by the Border Patrol and the government, and that their goal was to be divisive and get communities fighting about "immigrants." (I'll have to call BP HQ and tell them to stop leaving those dirty diapers, empty water bottles, and broken barbed wire fences all over Cochise County.) She asserts that the Minuteman Project started out with only 150 volunteers and just grew from there; and when they came to Tombstone on April 1st, the first few days there were 9,000 media there to report on the event! She says the Minutemen are "a real threat."

Emilia Banuelos of Coalition for Latino Political Action talked of the devastating effects of Proposition 200 in Arizona. She claimed that children were not being sent to school or taken to the hospital when they were sick, pregnant women were reluctant to have their babies in hospitals, [illegals] had moved to other states to escape the new laws, and that law enforcement officers were asking traffic violators for their green cards and Drivers' Licenses, and arresting them and taking them off to jail! (Oh, could we be so lucky in Arizona? Justice at long last!)

She continued with the same old broken-record propaganda that Prop. 200 has allowed others, presumably American citizens, to treat people of color any way they want, that it disenfranchises the poor and people of color, and that it gives the "green light to people coming in from outside of Arizona."

Judy Flanagan of CADENA, which lobbies for full citizenship for youth who have completed high school [in-state tuition], reviewed the "anti-immigrant" legislation that had been attempted in the last year. It seems the OBL is very disappointed in Gov. Janet Napolitano. Apparently she isn't PC enough for them, as she signed 5 bills into law which they didn't like, while vetoing 5 bills passed by the AZ state legislature. Bills signed into law include: an enhanced sentence for anyone who commits a crime while in the country illegally; the Human Trafficking law which makes smuggling people across the border a Class 4 felony (some voiced concern that this might be used against anyone using day labor, due to the transportation issue); no government funding for day labor centers; impoundment of a vehicle for those driving with either no license or a suspended one, or no insurance; and Class 2 misdemeanor penalties for anyone not giving their name to law enforcement.

Bills that were vetoed by Napolitano included: requiring the state employment/welfare service to check a person's immigration status with DHS before allowing in-state tuition for students [illegal aliens]; enforcement of immigration laws by state law enforcement (allegedly this was torpedoed by the law enforcement lobby, as they didn't want to do extra work without extra funding); secure ID mandated, and no matricula consular cards being accepted for any legal transaction; and establishing English as the official language of Arizona.

Jennifer Allen of Border Action Network spoke at length about "anti-immigrant" groups which she says have concentrated in Arizona. She had an overhead with a list: American Border Patrol, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, BORDER GUARDIANS, and Ranch Rescue. She took great delight in telling how the illegal alien El Salvadorans got the Ranch Rescue ranch, and the audience laughed at the perceived "justice." She said the "anti-immigrant" groups have proliferated in recent years and linked them to "our local traditions of vigilante justice," citing Cochise County ranchers. (Could she be thinking of Roger Barnett, who has been repeatedly set-up and sued by the OBL and their stooges?)

Jen also hit upon the schisms between the anti-illegal alien activists. She referred to American Border Patrol as a "high-tech version of David Duke," but neglected to say anything about Border Guardians. While we are flattered to be included in her list, we are very disappointed that she didn't say ANYTHING about us. Could it be because we are just too embarrassing to the OBL?

Jen made great light of Chris Simcox' story that he founded Civil Homeland Defense subsequent to 9/11, after he had "wandered the desert for 40 days and nights" and had seen drug caravans coming from Mexico into the United States while camping in Organ Pipe Cactus National Park. She said that in 2002 he had issued a "call to arms" for a militia on the front page of the Tombstone Tumbleweed, and had begun with only 12 volunteers and 40 media representatives present. She claims that over the years he has grossly misrepresented the number of volunteers involved in his group. She claims, without any factual evidence, that the "anti-immigrant groups" are responsible for an increase in "violence and lawlessness."

"How do these groups continue to function?" Jen asked. She proffered the explanation that they had national connections to white supremacist/nationalist groups, and that they were well-connected politically. For example, she claims that American Border Patrol is used by various military groups. She continued to assert that anti-illegal groups had a cozy relationship with the media, including the New York Times! She says that we have created a climate where illegal aliens are "de-humanized." Then she continued to pound the point about white supremacist groups, even lumping Congressional contender Randy Graf in with them, saying that this group has had "a chilling effect on our friends." She said that she and her "friends" have been trying unsuccessfully to get the Atty. General and the Governor of Arizona to prosecute these vigilante groups. But, she says, fear of losing re-election has caused the politicians to give in to the growing "anti-immigrant tide."

Complaints by other participants included difficulty in getting access to the "Anglo" press, the absence of any effective organizations for illegals in Northern Arizona, Home Depot not being supportive enough for day laborer centers, 46% of the inmates in the juvenile justice system being Hispanic, and Andrew Thomas, Maricopa County (Phoenix) Attorney pushing the prosecution of identity theft, and the fear that this would be used against illegal immigrants. (Since Arizona is the identity theft capitol of the United States, I think this is a good thing!)

An aide for Congressman Raul Grijalva (the illegals' best friend, next to Jim Kolbe and John McCain), mentioned that applying for Naturalization is important in gaining legitimacy for illegals, and said that they are doing "citizenship days" periodically at his office where over 100 people come and fill out forms for naturalization.   There are also immigration attorneys available for consultation, and I don't even want to ask what he requires for ID!

A man named Antonio from Guatemala made the following statement in Spanish, translated badly by Isabel Garcia: "This is not about you or I; we have to be united together, no matter what country we come from. There are people around us who are trying to chase us out of our land, but this is OUR LAND! The Bible says the world belongs to everybody. America is free [does anyone remember the song from West Side Story, Everything Free in America?]--it belongs to ALL OF US! We won't allow any oppression!" There was a thunderous applause, and there were also a few others who mentioned Aztlan, but covertly.  [For those of you who don't know, Aztlan is the idea that all of the Southwestern states in the U.S. belong to Mexico and they go under the name of Aztlan.  There is a reconquista movement underway to retake these states and to return them to Mexico and make Spanish the only language.  For more info, go to: aztlan.net and http://www.americanpatrol.com/RECONQUISTA/AZTLAN.html American Patrol has also featured a photo of the word AZTLAN spelled out on the ground in Campo, CA, where the goons of the Brown Berets have been harrassing the California Minutemen.

Participants called on the government to give what the Constitution writes about: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A woman with a 20 year old son got up and gave a heart-breaking testimony about how her son cannot get into mechanic's school because he has no DRIVER'S LICENSE or social security number. (Hmmm...is this because his mom dragged him here as a child from Mexico and never bothered to apply for citizenship? Shame on HER!)

Joy Solero from the Brewster Center on Domestic Violence (they are bilingual, and believe me, there is PLENTY of domestic violence in the Hispanic community!) bemoaned the fact that illegals are so afraid that it is hard to provide information on their RIGHTS to them, especially if they live in isolated rural communities.

Dulce Ruelas of Derechos Humanos (Spanish for human rights) noted some of the successes of her organization: getting youth to hand out 3,000 anti-Prop. 200 flyers; doing Unity events with Mexico during the Minuteman Project instead of directly confronting them ("it's important to unite with Mexico because we're all human beings"), and sending out Promotoras to the illegal community to educate people about their rights. Dulce said, "Whether documented, or undocumented, we all have the same rights."

Jennifer Allen stood up and said, "The Cochise County Sheriff's Department has no one who speaks Spanish." [DefenderUSA note: I called the Sheriff's Department, and was told that many deputies, and personnel working in other areas, speak Spanish. Not only that, I got a recording of Sheriff Larry Dever saying, in Spanish, "Para Espanol, marke dos!" Didn't I say this was a day laced with lies?]

Krysten Sinema said, "The right wing rhetoric is working--their message is effective!" Surveys have been done for the OBL by the Krylen-Wright corporation of impressions the public has of Latinos. In 2003, 71% of those surveyed in Arizona had a favorable impression of Latinos. In April 2005, this had dropped to 68%, and just last week (August 28, 2005), the favorable percentage had dropped to 61%. The favorable percentage has dropped 7% in 2 weeks! (I'm not sure who's doing the math here, but this doesn't seem quite right.)

Isabel Garcia says that anti-illegal immigrant activists are motivated by fear and ignorance; that we are individuals afraid of losing control and power.

Pending legislation was then discussed. HCR2028 will be a referendum on the ballot which prohibits bail to any illegal alien who is accused of committing a violent crime, because so many of them escape to Mexico, which has no extradition treaty with the United States. HB2030 denies access to public services for illegals. It is rumored that legislation is in the works to deny benefits to the citizen children of undocumented immigrants.

OBL speakers claimed that there are 3 messages which the "anti-immigrant" lobby is pushing: that illegals are VIOLENT, that they are STEALING public services (among other things), and that they VOTE.

The OBL "needs to create a pro-active message that will touch the hearts and minds of Arizonans." (Gee, you mean those almost daily stories in the Arizona Daily Star, the Arizona Republic, and the Tucson Citizen about poor immigrants suffering and dying to get to the U.S. aren't enough? The joke is, these people actually think the media is too "conservative!")

Ben Miranda, a representative in the AZ state legislature, said that "This will be the worst year in anti-immigrant legislation." He voted against the anti-smuggling law, and said that it could be used to arrest bus drivers and people who pick up day laborers near Home Depot. He said the law to confiscate vehicles is to intimidate illegals into not driving or owning a car, and he doesn't like higher sentences for people who break the law while they are illegal aliens as well, as it can add 2 extra years to a DUI sentence. He said we must face the unspoken issue, the one "none of us wants to talk about--what are we gonna do about a Governor who signs this kind of legislation?"

"We raised two issues that didn't work: immigration is a federal issue, and the contributions of immigrants." He finished up by saying that we have to go after the people who hire illegal aliens, like the Marriotts and other big businesses, who are asking immigrants to come here. (Hmmm...this sounds pretty good. Do you think we can get him on our side?)

Alfredo Gutierrez said we need to repeal Proposition 200--it opened the doors! And Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox assured the crowd that she was fighting every day on the front lines of this battle "to keep Proposition 200 from being implemented." Everyone agreed: "we need to write our own social justice legislation." Consul General Florin of Mexico was in attendance, and he was available to help anyone, whether they had documentation or not.

Following the speakers, the conference broke into groups to discuss 4 topics: leadership training and capacity building, and legislative, electoral, and media/research strategies.

While the legislative strategy session suffered from a lack of leadership skills, the electoral group was just perking right along under the experienced tutelage of Jen Allen. It appears there were leaders of many groups present in that group as well. Jen told about a campaign BAN pursued to increase voter turnout in Nogales and Douglas, resulting in an increase of 30% more votes. She said she felt it was necessary to do this to "regain ground we shouldn't have lost in the first place."

One of the participants, a monolingual (Spanish) guy who was wearing a leg brace said, "Immigrants don't have rights," and told how he was injured at work. Presumably he is upset because he is not getting Worker's Compensation and free medical care. (Did anyone bother to tell him that in order to get something out of the system, that you have to pay something into it? And that LEGAL immigrants have rights?)

Jen said we need to "hold back attacks against immigrants while putting forth the rights of immigrants. We did an analysis of immigrant advocate groups and found that there was a big gap on the ground in community organizing. We need to start going door-to-door." (What, liberals need to actually get their hands dirty?) "We have horrible elected officials--they are not accountable to their constituents."

She made a list of preliminary objectives:

1. Elevate immigrant rights as a crucial election issue. "Don Goldwater's entire platform is scapegoating immigrants."

2. Counter anti-immigrant rhetoric that is used in debates.

3. Build power of the immigrant voter community by using the power of our votes.

4. Impact local, state, and national elections.

Then she showed her strategy for accomplishing these objectives. She said this was tried and true: voter registration, get out the vote, and "educate" voters. The rest of the discussion was devoted to implementation. Educating voters early in the election cycle was imperative, as was creating a clear message for voter education, and hiring staff to write it and spread it. Research needs to be done on who isn't voting, so that they can be targeted.

One woman suggested that the churches be used to organize voters, as many illegal aliens go to church. Church leaders need to be invited to OBL meetings! (I believe this violates the non-profit status of churches to endorse any particular candidates or positions.)

Money needs to be pooled for radio advertising and more media coverage needs to be secured.

Someone mentioned that local people from the community can now run for office, as the Clean Elections Law requires that only 250 people need give $5 each for someone to run in an election.

A memeber of the group protested that voter registration, by law, must be non-partisan, and specific candidates CANNOT be recommended; a new organization needs to be created to promote OBL-approved candidates. The other alternative is to retain the names of the people you register to vote, and then to contact them afterwards!

One way to garner voters is to hold "citizenship fairs" where potential new voters are signed up for naturalization. The process costs $400 each, but there is a pool of 250,000 immigrants in Maricopa and Pima counties combined that can be registered, and the media will love it!

One participant sadly reflected that while they were successful in getting latinos out to vote, they voted the wrong way (40% of them voted FOR Prop. 200)! (It's a bummer, isn't it, when people vote their own mind, instead of the party line?)

Everyone seemed to agree that it was a good thing to have more clubs like MECHA (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan) in the universities, and it was revealed that even tiny little Prescott College in Prescott, AZ has an Aztlan center.

A woman from El Salvador emphasized the need to educate people before they become voters, since voting in her native country didn't count. "We knew elections didn't work [in El Salvador], that they are fixed before the election."

Another person said that getting appointed as a Precinct Captain would be helpful in influencing voters. No one discussed specific parties.

These organizations and individual have all decided to work together and have another meeting planned: SEIU, Inmigrantes Sin Fronteras, Border Action Network, Alliance of Retarded Americans/Tucson, UFCW#99, some folks from Prescott College, AZ Leadership Institute, and the Center for Community Change.

After the breakout sessions, a middle-aged man who said he was a veteran of the civil rights struggle says this fight for immigrant rights "is just like the struggle for civil rights." Others lauded the inroads that had been made with other leftist groups such as the gay and lesbian community, where they support the OBL and the OBL supports them. (I wonder how most illegal immigrants feel about gays, since Hispanic culture is virulently homophobic?)

At the end of the meeting, after much fussing and many technical problems, a DVD documentary of the Minuteman Project made by Ray Ybarra, organizer of the ACLU Legal Observers during the MMP, was shown. He said he had spent a lot of time editing it in New York, and that this was just the "fine cut," and not to tell anyone about it, as he didn't want to get in any trouble with his producers. He is still looking for a distributor, and is only showing it to selected groups.

The film started out and continued with some of the most annoying music I have heard in a long time, some combination of banjo and a tinny autoharp. I couldn't help but wonder if he chose these instruments to make people think of an unflattering redneck stereotype.

He interviewed several people who were Minutemen, including Russ Dove, Joe Sweeney, and Bill Dore. As far as I can tell, he just presented them in a straightforward way, and didn't do any imaginative editing to chop up their words and make them seem other than they normally appear.

Judy Rabinowitz, a lawyer with the Immigrant Rights Project, said that "an arrest is someone telling an immigrant to stop or sit down." (I'm wondering, if I told another American citizen to "shut up and sit down," would this be an "arrest?")

Ray narrated the film throughout and again reiterated the charge I heard him make at the ACLU training session for Legal Observers that the white power groups on the internet were "going crazy" over MMP. (I remember doing an internet search at the time and not being able to find anything.)

There is a shot of man identified as J. T. Ready speaking at the MMP rally in Phoenix July 1, 2005. He is holding a sign that says, "Terrorism Stops Here." After he finishes speaking, a group of approximately 5 people are heard (but not seen) shouting "White Power!" about 3 times. This is what Hollywood calls "off-screen" when audio is played without showing the source of it, or in this case, the faces of the people shouting.

I find this most curious. I know one can literally do anything with computers these days, but both I and many others were at that same rally, and none of us heard anyone shouting "white power!" I recently viewed another video of that same scene, and after J. T. finishes speaking, the crowd cheers and claps. Mr. Ready himself told me that he never heard any white power chants, although there were plenty of Aztlaners and La Raza at the rally making obnoxious noise the whole time. I wonder, could this be some "creative editing?"

One of the illegals who can't speak English interviewed in the film says, "We have human rights anywhere--it doesn't matter where we are from."*

Ybarra concluded: "The true motivation of the Minuteman Project is fear and paranoia."

*The concept of "human rights," a recurrent theme of this OBL meeting, has a historical precedent stemming from a United Nations declaration in 1948 which can be viewed here: http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html In searching the web, I can't find any place fighting for "human rights" that claims that they are the rights of illegal immigrants. For example, here are the kinds of organizations which are fighting for human rights: http://www.hrweb.org/history.html In fact, it seems that most organizations which are working for genuine human rights are concerned with such things as prisoner abuse and torture, genital mutilation of women, slavery and child abuse, refugee rights, and imprisonment for criticizing the government, mostly in foreign countries. Again, this is a false issue raised by the Left. It's a typical propaganda tactic to take something unappealing and call it something attractive. I mean, you don't really expect people to rally around the issue of citizen's rights for illegal aliens, do you?

A note from DefenderUSA: Did you enjoy reading this special report? Even if you didn't, and it made you furious, did you find the information here to be valuable? Please consider making a donation to Border Guardians, no matter how small. Until now we've all been on our own time and our own dime, and it's wearing pretty thin. Even small amounts to help with gas for transportation or web services will help!