10/31/2005 - Fwd: [Noii-announce] No One Is Illegal - Statement in opposition to the Minutemen
No One is Illegal-Vancouver <noii-van@...> wrote:
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2005 13:51:14 -0800 (PST)
From: "No One is Illegal-Vancouver" <noii-van@...>
To: "noiilist" <noii-l@...>
Subject: [Noii-announce] NOII Statement in opposition to the Minutemen
No One is Illegal-Vancouver denounces and completely opposes the Minutemen
Project. We oppose all such vigilante attacks against our communities. On
October 1, 2005, the Minutemen launched their campaign on the
U.S./Canadian border. They have already been met with clear opposition
from community groups on both sides of the border. We affirm that this
opposition will continue to grow and that we stand united against and will
not tolerate any such activity on the Canadian side of this border.
Since April of 2005, the Minutemen have engaged in the targeting of
racialized communities under the pretext of preserving U.S. security. The
Minuteman Project has arisen out of a history of vigilante groups
patrolling the U.S/Mexico border against illegals?and potential
terrorists? The post 9/11 climate has perpetuated the false association
between migrants and terrorism. A new anti-terrorist paradigm guides
enforcement and immigration matters are now contextualized within the war
on terrorism?where the result is an increased number of abuses of
migrants and racialized communities. The very basis of racial profiling is
the double standard by which individual members of communities are
stereotyped and legislation is passed and legitimized to criminalize their
civil liberties and human rights. The Minutemen Project is based on this
very false consciousness.
Members of the Minuteman Project have been shown to have clear ties with
white supremacist groups such as the National Alliance, yet they have
attempted to distance themselves from the allegations of racially
motivated actions by stating ethnicity, race, religion and all such
factors are incidental and ?irrelevant in the debate over illegal
immigration? However, any just account of the migration of peoples of the
Third World needs to recognize that ethnicity, race and religion have been
central to the political, social and economic repression which are the
driving forces behind this displacement. These borders have been made open
to the free movement of the very corporations and neo-liberal policies
causing oppressive displacement but decidedly closed to those migrating
humans deemed undesirable.
Furthermore, the illegal?movement to which they refer includes that of
Indigenous peoples who are simply traversing borders which were imposed
upon them, dividing their territories and communities. The Minutemen have
falsely claimed that they have the support and are working in the best
interest of Indigenous nations ?protecting their land from the invasion
of illegal migrants. However, various Indigenous communities have already
denied such claims.
Finally, they have openly stated that they are concerned by the "tens of
millions of invading illegal aliens who are devouring and plundering
[their] nation". The Minutemen have labeled migrants as being people who
wish to take advantage of a free society? The reality is that the U.S.
and Canadian economie take advantage of the cheap labour of such migrants
?who work farms, cook food and clean homes- yet they remain invisible and
under constant threat of inhumane immigration policies and racist
backlash. By equating the movement of migrants to an invasion? they have
clearly attempted to foster anti-migrant sentiment ?furthering the threat
of violence against already marginalized communities.
Therefore we, along with numerous civil rights organizations and community
groups in the U.S., are gravely concerned by the impunity with which such
a group that has clearly stated racist views and alliances has been
allowed to carry out armed border patrols. It is not lost upon us that
there exists an obvious political and social double standard, by which
communities of color have been increasingly subjected to arbitrary
detentions, racial profiling and charged for being terror suspects on
secret evidence or no evidence, while vigilante groups whose work actually
harms and terrorizes communities have been either openly or tacitly
supported by government officials.
Besides the deployment of border patrol units, the Minutemen have put out
national calls to recruit informants?on illegal aliens? their
employers and anyone engaged in what they term identification fraud?
Their statements have promoted an environment of constant insecurity for
those who are already the most insecure individuals of marginalized
communities ?people who suffer the greatest poverty, racism, inhumane
working conditions and lack of social services; people who face
exploitation on every front.
The Minutemen are a present day example of a history of violence towards
migrants. Over 3,500 people have died crossing the US/Mexico border since
1994. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said at least 464 migrants
died crossing the border from Mexico into the US during the fiscal year
that ended Sept. 30. And let us remember that in the U.S. invasion of
Mexico at least 25,000 Mexican people were murdered for the land the
Minutemen patrol today.
Since the North American Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA) implementation in
1994, the economic consequences of the neoliberal trade policy has created
a multifaceted crisis that now dominates the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico
border. Economically violent policies like NAFTA force people off their
land and out of their communities- over 1.5 Million Mexican farmers have
lost their farms as a result of NAFTA- to migrate towards the Northern
economy to work in low-paying sectors of the economy that heavily rely on
their hyper-exploitable labour.
The simultaneous militarization of the border through Operation Gatekeeper
has drastically transformed the fragile desert land over the past decade.
Black helicopters and unmanned drones patrol the desert by sky, searching
for human beings with infrared cameras. Families living in Nogales, one
city divided by the border, see a large concrete and steel wall topped
with barbed wire everyday. Gatekeeper was developed with help from the
U.S. Department of Defense's Center for Low Intensity Conflicts and has
been implemented in three phases. Each has raised the risks of migrants
dying, yet Border Patrols confirms that the added dangers have not slowed
the migrant foot traffic.
Through my eyes, the problem is that what occurs on the U.S.-M?ico
border is one of the grossest human rights violations in the history of
the United States,?states Ray Ybarra, American Civil Liberties Union
spokesperson, Here in our backyard, human beings have to face death and
In a petition filed year before last with the Organization of American
States, the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial
Counties and the Oceanside-based California Rural Legal Assistance
Foundation have charged that the U.S. government has flagrantly abused
human rights by resorting to a strategy at the border designed to maximize
the physical risks, which cannot be reconciled with the obligation to
protect life, be it an undocumented person's or a citizen's.
The end result of the Minuteman Project will be an even more militarized
border; more migrant deaths, and more fear in our communities. We are
disturbed by the fact that the Minutemen have stated their larger goal is
setting not only an example for other Americans to follow, but a
precedent we hope will have a lasting effect on how border security is
viewed for generations to come.?Canada and the US have already developed
a militarized and integrated, so-called Smart Border Policy, including the
Safe Third Country Agreement implemented in December 2004 and known to
many as Fortress North America.
We cannot forget our basic moral underpinnings as to how we treat other
No One is Illegal-Vancouver
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The No One is Illegal campaign is in full confrontation with Canadian
colonial border policies, denouncing and taking action to combat racial
profiling of immigrants and refugees, detention and deportation policies,
and wage-slave conditions of migrant workers and non-status people.
We struggle for the right for our communities to maintain their
livelihoods and resist war, occupation and displacement, while building
alliances and supporting indigenous sisters and brothers also fighting
theft of land and displacement.
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