Border Action Report- Minutemen Shut Down!

Posted by admin on Oct 5th, 2005

OCTOBER 1ST BODER ACTION REPORT: Minutemen shut down on U.S. – Canadian Border

The Minuteman northern border patrol has officially begun. As was widely publicized by the Minutemen and their supporters, October 1st was the launch date of this latest campaign – six months after the beginning of their first armed patrol on the Arizona/Mexico border. Detachments have now been sent along the U.S./Canadian border in the states of Maine, Vermont, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington State.

Though slated to make a launch appearance at the Peace Arch, which marks the border between Washington State and British Columbia – there were no Minutemen to be seen there on October 1st. Members of the vigilante group were spotted – in much smaller numbers than originally publicized – along a few stops on the border near Abbotsford, B.C.

When questioned by the media as to their original plans to have a gathering at the Peace Arch, The Minutemen confirmed that the location was changed in order to avoid
the protestors. Instead, loud cries of protest against the armed border vigilantes were heard from a group of about 60-80 protestors who had gathered from both sides of the border as well as a heavy media presence to cover the events.

Community members from Bellingham, Blaine and Vancouver stood together to denounce this latest demonstration of racist anti-migrant activity as well as the larger political and social ramifications of the Minutemen’s actions. Organizers from both sides have begun an active campaign to counter the Minutemen and bring public attention to the harsh realities surrounding migration and the threat that such groups pose to marginalized communities.

The Minutemen have also in the past told the media that the Lummi reserve has welcomed them to train on their territory in Washington State. A member of the community, however, completely denied those claims.

“It is an outrage that armed groups can patrol the border and threaten our communities this way without any repercussions,” said Harjap Grewal, an organizer with No One Is Illegal Vancouver. “Why are these groups not being condemned by the government”, he added, “while members of our communities are increasingly subjected to racial profiling, arbitrary detentions and labelled as terrorists?”

Since the Minutemen began their activities along the U.S. – Mexican border in April of this year, numerous communities in the U.S. have clearly demonstrated their opposition and outrage over both their actions and the impunity with which they have been allowed to work. Thus far, ½ of the Minuteman members have been former military and the majority have been armed. Though they have maintained that they are not a racist group, many of their members have been shown to have ties to white supremacist groups.

The Minutemen and their supporters have openly blamed migrants and “illegals” as being the cause of disease, crime and low wages.  “They’re spreading all the racist myths about migrants that we’ve heard before,” said Mandeep Dhillon, another organizer with No One Is Illegal Vancouver. “The Minutemen and their allies will say that migrants are free-loading off the system when the truth is that this system only exists because of the exploited labor of such migrants. If NAFTA can cross the border then so can the poor.”

The Minutemen have stated that beyond border patrols,one of their main objectives is to influence the  public perception of border security and policy changes to further militarize the U.S. borders. Resistance to their actions, however, is also on the rise in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Along the Mexican border, where a record 460 migrants have died in the last year alone as a result of U.S. border policies known as Operation Gatekeeper, numerous protest actions are planned for October 8th.

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