Friday, May 12, 2006
Minutemen's rallying cry: No amnesty
In the shadow of the U.S. Capitol today, I stood between the warring lines of our national immigration debate.

The Minutemen, those advocates for rigorous enforcement of immigration laws, were rallying against any sort of amnesty program for illegal immigrants. A short distance away, protestors in favor of greater rights for immigrants were trying to shout down the Minutemen speakers.

The protestors called the Minutemen racists, Klansmen, Nazis, and repeatedly chanted at them in Spanish.

As I wandered among the Minutemen, however, they had little say about the protestors. One after another they repeated the basic tenet of their group: If a nation has laws about immigration, those laws should be enforced, period.

The folks who came to support the Minutemen were a mixed-lot racially -- mostly white, but some African-Americans, some Asians too. I don't think I saw any Latinos among them.

Many of the Minutemen took a couple of days off of work to drive to the Washington, D.C., for this cause. Some told me they'd never been interested enough in politics to do anything like this before.

And that caught my attention more than all the shouting, signs and speeches I heard, because generally, when ordinary folks care enough about an issue to abandon part of their ordinary lives to get involved, whatever that issue is, it is going to get bigger.

Standing by the Capitol on this spring day, I watched a small, heated confrontation, but I couldn't help but wonder: Will much bigger, more volatile clashes on immigration follow in the heat of the summer?
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 5:20 PM ET
It's funny how the Minutemen tout that they are just trying to uphold laws. Do they work just as vigorously against drunk driving, speeding, or child abuse? It's a bit more pointed then they keep saying.
And to the Minutemen that thinks that every non-American wants to live in the U.S., think again.
Posted By Anonymous Jodi, Calgary : 5:58 PM ET
Please be clear. Rights for Immigrants and rights for illegal immigrants are completely different. By the way, have you seen MY rights?
Posted By Anonymous Jason Freigh, Austin, TX : 6:07 PM ET
One after another they repeated the basic tenet of their group: If a nation has laws about immigration, those laws should be enforced, period.

Pshaw. If these guys are so motivated by law, why didn't they give a damn about illegal wiretaps? illegally collecting data on US citizens? holding US citizens without counsel or trial? TORTURE??

These guys are motivated by fear - fear of becoming a minority. It's all about Us versus Them, and there's no way to put a non-racist face on that.
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 6:08 PM ET
I agree with the Minutemen. It's not about anything else but obeying the law. Thats what I want. It's a massive invasion, yes a massive invasion. No there are no armies involved, but just think. How many millions have arrive illegaly?
Posted By Anonymous Rick, Lewisville Tx : 6:18 PM ET
Of course this argument will get more heated. The open borders crowd wants all of Mexico to move here. The Minutemen won't to close the borders and deport the illegals. We need the federal government to enforce the law and jail people who hire illegal workers. That will solve the problem.
Posted By Anonymous Frank, Charlotte, NC : 6:19 PM ET
Immigration works - if you follow the rules. My ex-husband and I followed all the right channels, the petitions, the affadavits, etc. It was a lengthy process but we did it, and we did it right, he from London, England, me from RH, Michigan. I agree with the Minutemen, if there are laws in place to control the immigration - THEY SHOULD BE FOLLOWED. The protesters want something for nothing. We are not saying you are not welcome here, but we ARE saying, come here with proper papers, and legally. End of story.

Quit hopping borders and there won't be anything to worry about.
Posted By Anonymous Beth V., Rochester Hills, MI : 6:22 PM ET
Yes, there are bound to be more clashes. Here in Arizona tensions are MUCH higher than ever, starting with the illegals first march. It will backfire on them.
As with the passing of Prop 200, and the border fences on pvt land in the works, when the 'average' American citizen gets fed up, and bands together, it is indeed powerful.
Diana Heagarty
Chino Valley, Az
Posted By Anonymous Diana Heagarty Chino Valley Az : 6:23 PM ET
You bet there will be more confrontations and it's only inevitable that they become bigger! The sooner Americans realize their country is becoming beseiged with illegal immigrants, the sooner we can pressure our leaders into enforcing the laws on the books as well as the ones they intend to pass. Viva La Migra! :-)
Posted By Anonymous Bill W. Winchester, VA : 6:25 PM ET
I am sorry to say this, that if people failed to come into the United States legally, they are nothing more than criminals. Ignorance of the law has never been a defense.

These "criminals" need to do the right thing and change things in their own country, not try to change the laws of the United States, they have no right to do so!
Posted By Anonymous Donna, Bremerton, WA : 6:25 PM ET
I agree with the Minuteman. We are a nation of LEGAL immigrants, not illegal ones. If they break the laws to get here, how can you depend on them to abide by laws afterwards?? Living in a border state, we well know the statistics that the immigrants are responsible of 80% of the violent crime here.
Posted By Anonymous JB Phoenix, AZ : 6:27 PM ET
The Minutemen usually get 50 -100 people. with effort they can get 200.
The pro immigration rallies drew 1 million.
To consistently provide roughly equal time to these two opposing groups is in fact to advocate in favor of the Minuteman position.
For the last decade there have been hundreds of rallies drawing 100- 200 for the pro immigrant side, and they have not been covered as too small.
Posted By Anonymous Duane Campbell, Sacramento, Ca : 6:28 PM ET
Maybe we should only enforce the laws that crimminals rally for.
Posted By Anonymous William P.T Austin, TX : 6:28 PM ET
Thank goodness we have a few citizens with the guts to do what the government refuses to do: take action and enforce the law. I applaud all of the Minutemen and -women. Our politicians are about worthless anymore. Rest assured I will no longer vote Republican due to absurd lack of action on immigration. I will be voting a straight anti-incumbent ticket from this point forward, likely third party.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Kansas City : 6:30 PM ET
All I can say is the same: If you have laws enforce them.
Posted By Anonymous Kirk Upland CA : 6:30 PM ET
It seems simple to me. Check the citizenship of those at these protests in favor of greater rights for immigrants and when you find that the majority of them are illegal, arrest them on the spot and deal with them according to the law.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Simms, Cleveland OH : 6:32 PM ET
There was a Hispanic carpenter who was one of the speakers at the capitol today. His name is Ray Herrera. He stood with the Minutemen. I saw this on CNN. I hope today's rally is shown on all the networks. It will instill fear in the heart of any patriot.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Powell, Villa Rica, GA>30180 : 6:32 PM ET
I saw that entire rally on CSPAN, and what you've missed was the language of the Minutemen. They called immigrants "invaders," their migrations an "invasion" claimed that they were going to "destroy our republic" and wanted to "take our liberties" or "take away our rights." Whatever your feelings about illegal immigration, it cannot be rationally supposed that immigrants either desire to destroy our nation, take away our rights or, no matter their numbers, constitute a serious threat to either. They are either people looking for work or people looking for the same rights we enjoy. To couch them as anything else, as "communists" as one speaker did, is to ignore the very real reasons they come here. America is a great nation, with a great people, and they want to either share in our wealth or become Americans themselves. Our chief national export is the American dream - wither you're white or black - openly attacking Mexicans for taking this dream seriously is not only racist - and I am sorry that I have to use that word - but deeply ignorant of the power of the idea of America. The leader of the Minutemen, Gilcrest, went so far as to call those who seek genuine reform and no simply erect a wall "traitors" and told the protestors to "go to hell." This is not the hallmark of civil, principled debate, but the language of radicalism and hate. We are a beacon to the world - let us act it by addressing the questions about our borders soberly and with care instead of falling into jingoistic hate speak that, in a highly coded and sublimated form, is the Minuteman's stock in trade. I only hope that the anger in this rally is not echoed along the Minutemen's border watches, or we may soon be finding the bodies of border crossers in our deserts - pursurers of our dreams and vicitms of our own, irrational fears.
Posted By Anonymous Gabriel Bell, NYC : 6:35 PM ET
I believe the 'American Dream' is something that should be attainable for anyone who wants it. But the people who come here to...

-Find a higher paying job
-Show up at hospital ERs to get health care they can't pay for
-Send their kids to schools while paying no taxes
-Cause traffic accidents while having no insurance/accountability
-Expect us to speak their language

...just so they can send money back home, and then return home themselves -- need to leave now. Our government has spent itself into a terrifying debt position...the last thing we can afford to do is continue picking up the tab for illegal aliens.

I am fond of reminding people of what the results would be, if they acted in a similar fashion as our illegal aliens, - and tried immigrating illegally to China or Cuba while expecting the same treatment as Mexicans get here. (You would probably be jailed - at best.)
Posted By Anonymous Nathan Marks, Madison, WI : 6:37 PM ET
I have no problems with people who want a better life, but after living on the AZ border for a few years, I can't help but sympathize with the Minutemen. If you cross Mexico's southern border illegally, you will likely get killed. If you cross our southern border illegally, you will likely get a better life. If someone confronts you as you cross our southern border illegally, you can sue them and get their property. Where's the justice?
Posted By Anonymous Truman, Bowling Green, Ohio : 6:37 PM ET
How many minutemen? How many pro-immigrants? If we were to measure all Minutement protestors vs pro-immigrants, the numbers would be 1 - 100K. maybe for this one day, it was one to one, but you really need to look at the overall comparison. America is pro-welcome.
Posted By Anonymous afeisey, Miami Beach, FL : 6:38 PM ET
Again I ask you, once you stopped filming your segment on Monday, May 1st in Los Angeles, did you hang around long enough to see some of the protestors become violent with police? I think that, yes, as the summer heat drones on, we will see more heat in this debate. The violence has already started in L.A., exactly where I had predicted, and that is where the violence is going to come from in the beginning. Hold your breath!
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly, Tolleson, AZ : 6:38 PM ET
I haven't yet been motivated enough to join the Minutemen. I imagine I will soon enough though. If only to add my voice to a group that actually recognizes that laws should be enforced and violators should not be rewarded.

And to all the pro-illegal immigrant supporters who call the Minutemen rascist, fascist, or accuse them of being the KKK - this American of Mexican and Italian descent is thankful for the Minutemen.
Posted By Anonymous Alex, San Antonio, TX : 6:40 PM ET
Illegal is illegal no matter what country you are from. If we allow any Mexican to cross over from Mexico the word will spread across the world. If you want to go to American get to Mexico and cross over nothing will be done to you . How much energy in the US does 10-15 million illegals use per year?
Posted By Anonymous G. D. Craft Lex, KY : 6:41 PM ET
i attended a small rally here in nashville monday.and yes the message was the same inforce the laws! one thing i did notice while walking trough the crowd a large amount of the folks attending were vetrans i even met a young man just back from iraq.and he cant understand why he was sent there to protect our freedoms but our govt cant protect our own is a big problem,and all we get from our leaders are lies!
Posted By Anonymous tim nash. tenn. : 6:42 PM ET
The cries of racism are a red herring, designed to shift the onus away from the criminal border crossers and to those who only want the laws of the US enforced.

I'm fully in favor of legal immigrants of any race, religion or nationality but to grant amnesty to those that forced their way in while others waited to come to the US legally is not only wrongheaded, it sends the complexly wrong message to future illegal immigrants.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Fisher, Lansdowne, PA : 6:42 PM ET
The minutemen are nothing more than racists. The only people here who are not imigrants are the Native Americans, and the decendants of slaves, because they were brought against their will. I say deport those Nazi minutemen
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Portland Oregon : 6:46 PM ET
Interesting that the illegal immigrant advocates resorted to name calling, most of which simply aren't true or accurate.

Illegal immigrants can be labeled with a derogatory term, too - one that is entirely accurate: criminal. Giving amnesty to people whose very first action in this country is to ignore and violate our immigration laws is simply unthinkable.

I find it amazing in this post-9/11 world that there are citizens who think it's no big deal that thousands of people stream unchecked into our country every year.

It is indeed sad that these illegal immigrants come from homelands that are so terrible, they are willing to take such drastic measure. But I have lived in some truly terrible homes - while my neighbors lived in much nicer places. Would I have been justified breaking into their home to live there?

The United States is a nation of immigrants, but there is a big difference between welcoming someone who comes in the front door, and someone who sneaks into your back window.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Jacksonville Florida. : 7:07 PM ET
The minutemen are at the very least doing something, taking action in defense of the laws of this nation.I think the Senate had better pay attention if the want to be reelected whichever party they are in.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Watkins, Gresham, Oregon : 7:08 PM ET
My European family came into this country the legal way years ago. They considered it a privilege and obligation to enter legally and become a vital part of the USA. I'm not usually a political person but I'm totally against amnesty and not enforcing the immigration laws. I see too many illegal Hispanics here sucking up state health funds and welfare. I'm angry enough to vote against any presidential aspirant who is for amnesty.
Posted By Anonymous D. R., Sutherlin Oregon : 7:09 PM ET
I can't explain how maddening it is for someone to consider me a "racist" because I want my country to be safe and well protected. Good for the minutemnen!
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Las Vegas, NV : 7:10 PM ET
I beleive this year will bring a lot of racial dividing on this issue. Hopefully people will keep their cool and let our Nations Courts decide this. I personally think that if you are in any country illegally you are breaking the law and should be dealt with as a law breaker. This problem has gone on way too long though and now we have a much more complicated issue.
Posted By Anonymous Rob Goza, Streetsboro Ohio : 7:10 PM ET
More power to the Minutemen for taking time out of their lives to enforce laws our government can't even be bothered to help support the enforcement of in the first place. I don't understand why people are supportive of illegal immigrants who take all they can from the system and don't pay anything in lest they get deported back to their own country. It's not fair and I'm finally glad that people are realizing how the situation really works and are trying to do something about it.
Posted By Anonymous Angela, Tampa FL : 7:10 PM ET
I'm certain that our president and government are selling us down the river to Vicente Fox. I'd just like to know at what price.
Posted By Anonymous Olga, Irvine, CA : 7:11 PM ET
It escapes me that those who want unconditional deportation of illegals believe that mass deportation is even possible. Practically it is impossible. Regardless of how you feel about illegally enetring into the country. Those who really care about this issue should focus their efforts on developing a rational solution that can actually be enforced and implemented without causing harm to the country's economy.
Posted By Anonymous David Knull, San Diego, CA : 7:11 PM ET
I am on the fence about amnesty for those already here. However, I do believe that we should hold all businesses accountable to existing laws and prosecute to the fullest extent if they are knowingly employing illegals.
Posted By Anonymous Larry King, Evergreen, Colorado : 7:11 PM ET
It is illegal to cross the border between Mexico and the U.S. without proper paper work. If you are here illegally why should you be rewarded with rights and even citizenship. Go back to Mexico, get your papers in order and come back legally and apply like everyone else has to do. Just because the greatest number of illegal immigrants are from Mexico doesn't mean we should ignore the law. And if you are here illegally you shouldn't be allowed to participate in a guest worker program. Go back to Mexico get your paperwork in order and come back legally when you are INVITED back.
Also if you are an American employer and you hire workers who don't have a valid work visa you should be fined $5,000 dollars per incident. A national data base could be provided with a list of visa holders and their photograph. The employer could check the data base from their home computer or business computer and check the face against the visa number. If you don't have a computer I'm sure someone would be willing to provide and employment service for you just like they provide for many other legal American employers.
Posted By Anonymous Sam Lippse Tucson Arizona USA : 7:14 PM ET
We are all immigrants. Most of us arrived and have worked hard to establish our selves. Why should those that try to arrive in less then ethical means be rewarded? Do we give the same consideration to all countries?

Are the people that are speaking out for amnesty careering flags of other nations loyal to the nation that they want to be apart of?

Some are saying that they are tired of the US oppressing them and that is why they want immigration reform. If it is so bad then leave. May be the law that allows babies born within US borders of non-us residents to become US citizens should be the issue.

Opting to move to a different country from the one that you are a citizen is a privilege not a right.
Posted By Anonymous John Orange, CA : 7:14 PM ET
Yes, the clashes will get more heated! The Minutemmen are nothing more than rascists befouling a name with a proud heritage with their shallow attempt to hide behind patriotism. Give them a few sheets to wear and their true colors will show. Remember, the Klan would travel great distances to march. That didn't make them any less reprehensible.

Diversity and immigration are the heart of our country's very existence and to try and limit that betrays our very core! The immigration laws being broken are both unfair and biased. This isn't the first time the people of this country have been guilty of breaking unfair laws. Often for far less important reasons than bettering the lives of our families and children.

For those that care, I'm a 4th generation American of Swedish descent and a proud supporter of our constitution.
Posted By Anonymous David Anderson, Seattle, Washington : 8:18 PM ET
It seems no one in Washington is willing to address the real issue: changing the bizarre process of getting a green card. My wife, who has a Masters degree, had to wait two years for a provisional green card, during which time she could not work, nor leave the country for more than a short time to work elsewhere. If the process is this bizarre for high-skilled workers, imagine how it must be for those who can't afford to hire immigration attorneys (as we did) or pay the various filing fees? Yes, everyone who comes in should be here legally, and we need to change our immigration paperwork policy to make this a realistic option for all those who want to contribute to the US economy.
Posted By Anonymous David T., Lake Barrington, IL : 1:31 PM ET
I applaud the minutemen and this just might be the beginging of what citizens of this country might have to do to protect the sovereignty of this country if congress doesn't pass and enforce a comprehisive and tough immigration law without amnesty. Forget the term "not in my lifetime", if we don't fix this now I dread to think what our grandchildren are going to be dealing with.
Posted By Anonymous Joe., San Leandro Californina : 3:01 PM ET
As long as businesses can get cheap, disposable labor there will be no real enforcement of the immagration laws. Go to New Orleans and watch the cleaning crews remove sheetrock and insulation with no protective gear. Real Americans are protected by OSHA regulations and would never tolerate these unhealthy working conditions. If an illegal worker gets sick, the employeer just plugs in another cheap illegal day laborer. Building a better America on the backs of immigrant labor is a time honored American tradition.
Posted By Anonymous Joe D. BR, LA : 4:07 PM ET
My question is, where were the immigration enforcement officials on the days that these people were out marching? I would have been checking papers all up and down those streets and locking and expelling illegals from the country who do not have proper credentials. WHERE WERE THEY???
Posted By Anonymous Elaine Torres Scottsdale, Arizona : 5:31 PM ET
Latinos are not a race, and btw there are latinos that are white, black and asian.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel, Houston, Texas : 5:42 PM ET
If we give amnesty to illegal immigrants, then which criminals will be next to demand amnesty for their crimes. Murderers, drug dealers and the like would be justified in asking for amnesty too.
Posted By Anonymous Chuck, Las Vegas, NV : 8:36 PM ET
We all come from somewhere else. We are all inmigrants somehow, someway. People leave states like Alabama, Texas, Wyoming, etc for better life in more economic strong states. SOme of us were blessed by being born here or got the paperwork form a father or mother. The immigration system makes it very hard for anyone to become an American, eiter you are a son of one,marry one or born here. It should not be like that and that is one of the reasons why we got all this people coming illegally.Immigration should be easier than that and we less waiting time to become an American. We need immigration to survive as a nation, towards the new New rising economic powers of other countries. We should encourage immigration and not be selfish and self absorved on our own needs. Love others as you love yourself. Is not all about us.We are one worlds and what one countrie does affects another and viceversa. Embrace diversificationa and globalization. Keep hate and pride out of our society.
Posted By Anonymous Dominic., Palo Alto, California : 3:30 PM ET
Immigration to the U.S. will probably stop if U.S. corporations stop exploiting Mexicans living in Mexico. Check all your belongings. How many of them were made in Mexico? If you own a Volkswagen, it is probably German invented made in Mexico. Gap and Hallmark exploit Mexicans by paying them a less than $30 a month.

These immigrants are trying to benefit from what all the European immigrants benefited from. Your parents most likely benefited from a legalization similar to this. Did your parents get amnesty?
Your ancestors are immigrants. Only brown skin people are natives and it is sad that the minute men are prejudice towards brown skin.

Is anyone patrolling the U.S. Canada border?
Anyone from around the world can come in through there.
Posted By Anonymous Y. Uriostegui, Chicago, IL : 4:06 PM ET
People living on the US side of the border are living in fear. Their property destroyed, themselves at extreme risk to attack from illegals crossing the border. Our own government has ignored the problem for years. Sending in the National Guard is not the answer. Appying the money to better the foreces of the Border Patrol and the border itself is the answer. As well as enforcing the laws. Companies who hire illegals should be fined. I saw a sign recently in Santa Cruz, after one of the numerous demostrations. It read 'My mother is not illegal'. But my friend, she is if she is not a US citizen. There are laws to govern this nation. If you don't like them then do something about them that is productive and lawful. I do not understand why the US is expected to throw caution to the wind and allow everyone the right to live here no matter what.
Posted By Anonymous R.M.K. Santa Cruz, CA : 4:30 PM ET
my last comment was not sent so I will send another one with a little less meaness to it. First A Latino is someone that is from latin america or a decedent of latin america. You can be of any race and be latino most latinos are white that make up most of brazil, 98% of Argentina, chile ect. Second I do not care what color of latino you are you come to this country Illegally you should be punish and sent back. Third someone early wrote true americans are the american indians I disagree I was born in this country I am an american even though my grandparents came here over here hundred years ago from another country. I am was born on this land I am a native american. Last laws are set up for a reason and even if you do not agree still you should obey by them. thank you

Posted By Anonymous Grant Lerette, Waco, Texas : 5:50 PM ET
Bunch of ignorants.

To Enrique Port Charlotte Fl - do not cry. Do not give the pleasure to these ignorant people of making you feel worthless. I felt the sameway about two weeks ago until my neighbor Lou - she is a 73 year old lady, said to me: "they are afraid and ignorant, God gave us the land, the land is for those who work it" She is right.

Enrrique: These people are ignorant, they need to get educated on the many ways that we pay taxes...yes, we shop, we pay rent (our landlord includes taxes there! on our paychecks we get that we will never see.
I am so sick of all the ignorance regarding taxes. WE DO PAY TAXES! EDUCATE YOUR SELF and them let out your hate if you must. SO, you pick Mexicans this time just like you picked on African Americans some time ago.

They keep saying: "Hell, get them out and I will pay $7.00 for a pound of grapes" or " I will gadly pay $5.00 for a head of lettuce"

Yeah, RIGHT! Gas prices are going up and they keep whining about it...can you imagine if everything goes up?
I personally will love to see Junior bent down all day long picking up tomatoes. People - Get a REALITY CHECK -you will never be able to do it.

Now I come to the blog to read the stupid comments of ignorance and get a good laugh.

Thanks for all the humor now you just make my day!
Posted By Anonymous Raquel, Chicago, IL : 12:28 AM ET
to all the ignorant people who dont know wht they are talking about and just and are just running their mouths let me give you some facts >>> an illegal person does not get government benefits like food stamps , welfare etc... because they have to prove legal residency to apply .. (2) illegal people get taxes taken out of their checks if though they dont claim it at the end of the year , all though some do because they have a tax I.D..(3)if you were born in a poverty stricken country and the only way to provide food for your family was to cross a line in the dirt and work would you Not do it ??? i believe you would .. (4) illegals here do send their families money but they are having to pay to send it ,so where does that money go?? STAYS HERE !, they shop everyday (paying taxes on everything), they buy gas , they pay rent , they buy cars stop crying about they dont do this or that .Because you dont know what is going on .
Posted By Anonymous wmo,dalton,ga : 2:14 PM ET
To WMO in dalton GA - finally someone says what I have been thinking all along..Thank You!
All the people who keep saying that if immigrants want to come into the US then they should come legally...they have not got a clue how difficult it is for someone who is poor and struggling to get permission to come to the US legally.. wake up people they are coming illegally because the people who need the visas are denied! Its easier for them to risk there lives crossing the border.
Posted By Anonymous Amy, Canton, GA : 4:41 PM ET
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