The so-called bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators have come up with legislation that they claim will change our immigration system for the better. This legislation would allow more legal immigrants to enter the country over the next decade, strengthen border security, award more visas based on education and professional credentials and controversially grant legal status to the 11 million undocumented immigrants who entered the country illegally.
Supporters of this legislation feel that it fixes an immigration system that has been broken for decades. However, a conservative backlash against it has begun in the House. The backlash is specifically against the provision to grant a path to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country. After all, these people committed a civil offense, and a path to citizenship would ultimately be a reward for breaking the law. Those who are against this reform in the House are hoping to thwart this irresponsible legislation through a strategy of delay and dismemberment. However, a bipartisan group of House members is working behind the scenes to draft a bill that does have such a path to citizenship.
Immigration is one of the most divisive issues in the United States. However, a recent Pew Research poll has shown that perhaps the Gang of Eight is out of touch with what their constituents expect from a truly responsible immigration policy. This poll reveals that 55 percent of Americans oppose granting citizenship to those 11 million who entered the United States illegally. And among the group that would naturally seem most supportive of such a path to citizenship, Hispanics, only 49 percent support the measure.
The Minuteman Project is a national, activist organization that was founded on August 1, 2004 by Jim Gilchrist. It is a civilian-led border watch group that aims to raise awareness of the problem of illegal immigration to the United States. It wants the United States to remain governed by the rule of law and its immigration legal code enforced for the sake of national security, economic prosperity, and domestic tranquility.
The following is an interview with Jim Gilchrist, Founder and President of the Minuteman Project, on his opinions regarding the immigration reform legislation and the work of his organization in the realm of stemming the tide of illegal immigration.
How do you feel about the immigration-reform bill being debated in the Senate?
I feel it is an ongoing tug-of-war that will not be resolved with the current session of Congress. I think the debate will continue for perhaps another decade. There are so many people who want the immigration laws simply enforced, but, there are also millions of people who, for various selfish reasons, do not want those immigration laws enforced. It will depend on who has the greatest pull on that political tug-of-war rope. I think right now the rope is being pulled mostly by the Democratic Party in the direction of amnesty for illegal aliens and a systematic dismantling of immigration law enforcement agencies like the U.S. Border Patrol and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Because the immigration law enforcement advocates have not come out with the unity and solidarity that the pro-illegal alien, anti rule-of-law activists have, groups like the Minuteman Project have much less prominence in the debate than it used to have a few years ago.
Most of the lack of alliance among the immigration law enforcement advocacy groups is due to chronic infighting within and among the various organizations. It seems, in my opinion that some elements on my side of the debate for enforced immigration laws are in the movement to egotistically promote themselves as the "savior" of America. Others are in this activist movement for greedy financial reasons, meaning, and the possibility of creating a "cash cow" that will attract unlimited donations to the organization and provide its staff with an opulent life-style. Unfortunately, these egotistical and greedy activists earnestly set out to discredit and destroy organizations that would otherwise be allies, when their spotlight of attention or unimpeded access to the national donor base of cash contributors is threatened.
What are some of the changes you would like to see happen to U.S. immigration policy?
Very few changes are necessary. What is necessary is doubling the funding of the U.S. Border Patrol and the bureau of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – that would take about another 18 billion dollars for about a two year period. That would provide those law enforcement organizations with the manpower and womanpower and the working capital that they need to purchase equipment, hire professional investigators, border patrol officers and prosecuting attorneys to handle the prosecution of those persons engaged in what I refer to as the “21st Century Slave Trade.” The “21st Century Slave Trade” is essentially criminal activity that lures and funnels millions of impoverished people from around the world into the United States for exploitation.
Of course, it is more than just the criminal activity that is conducted by the criminal cartels that upsets Americans; it is also the cultural issue…the lack of assimilation into the American culture by millions of persons who essentially just want to transfer their homeland's language, culture, customs, etc. into the United States. A lot of people from Mexico are in the United States illegally – they want their friends and relatives to come here and join them – that is a natural reaction for people everywhere. But, they appear to be reluctant to speak a language other than their own or to assimilate into the melting pot which is the United States. Illegal aliens from all countries around the world who are in the United States seem to create their own national enclaves within U.S. communities and neighborhoods. The Mexican lack of assimilation is more profound than that of illegal aliens from other countries because of the enormous number of Mexicans and Central Americans here illegally dwarfs most of the illegal alien populations from other countries.
I do not condone their trespassing into the United States – I think they should stay in their homelands, wherever they are from, and try to create change there the way we do here…by taking their grievances to the streets and to their governments in protest.
Do you think it would be a better policy to change our immigration system so that more highly-skilled workers are permitted rather than low-skilled workers?
Absolutely! I will explain why. Let’s go back to the founding of the nation. The very first Congress of the United States of America, in 1790, actually established our very first immigration policy. The Founding Fathers were tired of England exporting into the colonies all their criminals and their ne'er do wells. The Colonists wanted our Congress to establish a policy that would essentially provide two primary things. The first is an immigration policy that would guarantee that we have highly skilled and vocationally skilled persons immigrating here with the talents, trades, and vocations necessary to continue us as a global economic power with a very broad middle class and a tax base. Of course, they did not talk about a middle class or income tax base in 1790, but they did talk about becoming a global economic power through a rationally proscribed policy of immigration. The second criteria of immigration is that not only do we want to maintain our status as a global economic power, but we also want to remain a civilized society so we want to attract people with the character and integrity necessary to allow us to continue being governed under rules of law by the electorate. And essentially those two criteria comprised our immigration policy in 1790, and they still apply today, in 2013: immigrants who bring with them economic prosperity and civilized attitudes. Our immigration policy never intended, and never should intend, to allow people to come here to engage in criminal activity or to feed at the public trough at the taxpayers’ expense. Almost all of the people that are coming here illegally are impoverished and are an unwanted burden on our society.
Now, I believe in benevolence, and I believe in charity, but I also believe those altruisms begin at home. Charity begins at home, and in the case of illegal aliens, it is their nation of origin, not the United States of America, that is their home.
What are some of the accomplishments of the Minutemen Project?
I set out in 2004 to bring national attention to issues that I felt were threatening to our domestic tranquility as a nation, as a society and as a people. Since immigration at the time was the most critical dilemma, in my opinion, facing the U.S., I chose to bring as much national awareness to the illegal alien invasion dilemma as possible and I have succeeded a thousand fold! I have no regrets at all!
Unfortunately, there have been some bad apples who have been attracted to the immigration law enforcement advocacy movement. They are your homegrown racists, your Nazis, your KKK mentalities, your fascists. I have met those groups and I have disassociated from them. They are not running under the title of American Nazi or KKK, they are running under immigration reform titles, but without a doubt they are fascist and racist organizations. However, in all fairness, you find the same extremist mentality among those who are for open borders and no immigration policy. Unfortunately, you have the extremists on the left, who are very hostile and very mean-spirited, and you have the extremists on my side of the debate on the ultra-right who are equally hostile and violent. If you want an example, in any debate you are going to have a left and a right, and the further left they get and the further right they get, the more hostile and violent they tend to be. So, on the ultra-left you have Ted Kaczynski: Unabomber, Harvard graduate who killed three people and injured about two dozen others by sending them bombs in the mail! And on the right you also have equally violent mentalities. Tim McVeigh from the ultra-right killed 168 people with that bomb in Oklahoma! Those two extremists side in any debate – whether it is about taxes or paving road, or building school or hospitals or anything – those two extremist sides are an anathema to any positive or any respectable solution to any problem. And I always advise people to steer away from them. We want a centralized solution to this problem – centralized meaning a peaceful resolution, a bloodless resolution. And that brings us to the center and away from the extreme left and the extreme right.
If the legislation for amnesty does pass, what would be the next step for the Minutemen Project?
If the legislation for amnesty passes, then we will address it in a more aggressive manner than we have lately. We probably would get back to street demonstrations and rally the troops. However, I am a little reluctant to go back to street demonstrations because of the propensity of bad apples showing up on both sides and creating violence, and engaging name calling and hate speech. But probably would be more aggressive in pinpointing those who I feel are specifically responsible from both major parties for thumbing their nose at the rule of law. The consequence of amnesty is going to be a message to the world that we have no immigration laws here, that you can come here at will as many as you want, set up shop wherever you want, because you are never going to be kicked out and we are never going to seriously enforce our immigration laws. And that means we can expect at least 300 million more newcomers over the next five or six decades, maybe as many as a billion! There are four billion impoverished people out of the 7 billion in the world’s population. A good segment of that four billion would love to migrate to the United States and tap into that supposed bottomless cornucopia of welfare benefits programs and freebies that are funded by this supposed incredibly wealthy tax base we have, which is a myth! We do not have that anymore! Maybe in the 1950s and 1960s we had it, but, over time, it has been fading away. We are looking at a pathway not to citizenship with amnesty, but a pathway to the demise of the United States insofar as it being an assimilated and unsegregated nation! I think the U.S. will break up into segments based on religion, culture and language, just like the former USSR did. I do not see amnesty as a good thing; I see it as a horrible thing!
But I do not think this legislation is going to pass. I think it is going to be a tug of war over the next decade. Because the closer it gets to passing, the more the natives get restless, and start making more noise, and start contacting their congressmen and their senators!
One final comment is that just because I say it, does not mean it is true and there is no challenging counter point. I am just expressing my opinions as an American citizen and I will never pretend that I am always right and my adversaries are always wrong. I am part of the debate, and I think any audience should be allowed to listen to me. I apply that rule to everybody, even those I disagree with, and including incurably dogmatic universities like Columbia and Harvard (among others) that pose as intellectual visionaries while simultaneously maintaining an earnest opposition to free speech for "all."
Interviewed with Jim Gilchrist of The Minuteman Project, Laguna Hills, California.