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Minutemen National Campaign Fizzles

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  • Steven L. Robinson
    (A few days ago I posted an article about a Minutemen sponsored rally in Denver that drew barely more than a dozen people while the opposition garnered 200.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2006
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      (A few days ago I posted an article about a Minutemen sponsored rally in
      Denver that drew barely more than a dozen people while the opposition
      garnered 200. The Denver rally was part of a nationally coordinated day of
      "Stop the Invasion" rallies that were supposed to be held in 20 cities
      nationwide. Unfortunately for the Minutemen, the Denver rally wasn't the
      only flop. Typically it seems that the rallies only drew a handful of
      supporters and much larger numbers of opponents. The Minutemen seem to have
      miscalculated. While their much hyped patrols of the Arizona desert garnered
      a lot of media attention, there doesn't seem to be anywhere near the
      groundswell of support that they were counting on. Instead, Minutemen
      rallies are looking more and more like those of kindred outfits on the
      racist right wing, the Nazis and the Klan. In other words, a half dozen
      diehards from hundreds of miles around get all dressed up in full regalia
      and parade around on the courthouse steps while local police protect them
      from hundreds of angry counter demonstrators. Perhaps it is because the
      more established corporate and right wing interests have failed to provide
      support, or perhaps it is because the Minutemen are really creatures of the
      fringe, a last gasp of the disillusioned 'folks.' In any event, this
      editorial from the Hearst owned Houston Chronicle shows that even in Texas,
      the Minutemen are unable to garner many supporters. SR)

      Jan. 9, 2006, 10:12PM

      False note

      A set of rallies protesting illegal immigration fizzled, suggesting
      Americans want more nuanced answers.

      Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle


      LAST Saturday, about 20 cities found themselves hosting parties to which few
      people came. Municipalities from Danbury, Conn., to Denton, Texas, were
      sites for nationally coordinated "Stop the Invasion" protests — a series of
      rallies, often at day labor sites, decrying illegal immigration and flawed
      border policies. The lukewarm attendance said a lot about how most citizens
      view the role of immigration — both legal and illegal — in American culture.

      In Danbury, about 50 protesters showed up. Two dozen gathered outside a
      home-supply store in Glendale, Calif., but were quickly outnumbered by more
      than 100 immigrant-rights activists. In Denton, about a dozen protesters led
      by the Lone Star Minutemen ran into three dozen counter-protesters, among
      them members of the Denton County Democratic Party, Anti-Racist Action and
      the League of United Latin American Citizens.

      Considering many Americans' growing resentment of illegal immigration, the
      demonstrations' feeble turnout was surprising. Their concerns echo widely in
      Washington, where Congress is considering numerous proposals on how to
      reform immigration policy.

      On a symbolic level, the protesters were accurate in focusing their
      attention on day labor sites and home-improvement stores, where employers
      often find undocumented workers. Immigrants stream illegally into this
      country because almost all of them find work. While existing laws prohibit
      both the workers' illegal entry and the employers' hiring, in reality this
      legislation is largely ignored. As protest organizer Paul Streitz told the
      Bergen Country Record, "Additional laws will help, but what good would they
      be if there's no enforcement?"

      What the Minutemen and other Stop the Invasion devotees got wrong was the
      practical side: the tone and scope of many Americans' view of illegal
      immigration. Recent studies consistently show that most Americans are indeed
      concerned about border security and illegal immigration. Last month, a
      Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 56 percent of Americans think
      illegal immigrants have done more to hurt the country than help it. But
      surveys and other evidence also show that Americans have mixed feelings
      about how to enforce existing law, particularly as it applies to
      undocumented workers already here. A Scripps Howard poll last month showed
      that by a 50-40 margin, Americans favor a guest worker program for laborers
      now in the country. The Tarrance Group, a Republican polling firm, found
      that 78 percent of potential Republican voters backed the idea of earned
      legalization with possible citizenship.

      The surveys on attitudes about illegal immigration are appearing thick and
      fast — and are full of contradictions. But the drowsy rallies that were
      meant to be national uprisings seem to translate all these numbers into at
      least two truths. Most Americans don't seem interested in bullying ordinary
      workers to protest U.S. policies. Instead, they seem to be weighing
      compassion, common sense and economics, and demanding action from the proper
      source — their lawmakers.

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