The Minutemen: This Land Is Your Land, Even If It Isn't... Return of the Minutemen

Jim Amrhein defends the current incarnation of The Minutemen, those people who volunteer to guard the US borders against illegal immigrants (in the wake of the US Government actually doing anything about it).

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion…”
 — U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 4.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”
— Edmund Burke, British statesman and political philosopher (1729-1797)

EVERYONE KNOWS ILLEGAL immigration’s a huge problem that affects us on many fronts. Now, I’m not going to bore (more like terrify) you with a bunch of statistics about how big this problem it is — that’s not really what this essay’s about. However, some context of this type is necessary to my main point, so here goes, briefly…

By some estimates, based on the current rate of invasion and its expected exponential growth (it’s currently as many as 3 million per year), illegal aliens in the United States could outnumber legal American citizens in less than 25 years. From a purely economic standpoint, this influx of illegal (“undocumented,” for those of you bent on political correctness) immigrants costs the United States hundreds of billions of dollars per year in:

  • Health care: According to the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, emergency medical care cannot legally be denied anyone in the United States, regardless of citizenship status. This basically equates to tax-funded womb-to-tomb acute medical care (without fear of discovery or criminal prosecution under patient confidentiality laws, mind you) for anyone clever enough to get over the border…
  • Drug Enforcement: Approximately 75% of the illegal drugs sold on U.S. streets comes into this country over our sparsely protected border with Mexico. The bulk of this cargo is transported by illegal immigrants. Needless to say, fighting drug-related crime costs billions…
  • Education: An estimated 1.5 million children of illegal immigrants are being educated in the public schools on the taxpayers’ dime, at an average per-pupil cost of $7,000 annually. That’s $10.5 billion or more right there…
  • Crime: According to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal quarterly, 95% of all outstanding homicide warrants in Los Angeles are against illegal aliens. Yet in major metropolitan areas (like L.A., New York, Chicago and others), “sanctuary policies” prohibit any type of immigration-related enforcement. Policing and prosecuting these aliens — sometimes over and over again — costs local law enforcement agencies untold millions of dollars…
  • Taxes: Ironically, an undocumented status doesn’t make it challenging at all for illegals to find work in a broad range of industries ranging from construction to landscaping to child care, but it does make it challenging for the government to collect billions in annual income taxes from these workers. Because of this, YOU pay more… 


These are just some of the dollars-and-cents impacts. An even more grave consequence of our lax border security and anemic immigration policy is an increased vulnerability to terrorist entry.

But like I said before, I’m not writing today to bludgeon you with the obvious-to-anyone-but-politicians downsides of illegal immigration. I’m not opening the immigration can o’ worms to argue about anemic U.S. security policy, either (though I surely will in a future essay)…

What I’m here to talk about today is what happens when YOU try to exercise your legal right to do something about it when your elected officials won’t.

The Minutemen: Volunteering Vigilance

As everyone knows, the estimated 1-3 million illegal immigrants crossing into this country every year are doing so overwhelmingly across the U.S./Mexico border.

These lands are mostly a mixture of private ranches, Indian reservations, and vast tracts of publicly owned lands like state and national parks, hunting lands, free-range cattle acreage, roadways, and the like.

For whatever reason — a lack of funding, the ineffectiveness of anything government, or a vast conspiracy of either the right wing, left wing, or both (right: cheap labor, left: more entitlement programs and votes) — the U.S Border Patrol is grossly overmatched in trying to prevent the oceans of illegals from entering the United States across the Mexican border.

Whether the solution to this problem is more USBP officers with guns and badges, more pressure on the Mexican government to curb immigration, more trade with Mexico to create the kind of prosperity people won’t want to leave, or a giant replica of the Great Wall of China along our southern border is a topic that could be endlessly debated…

But ONE perfectly feasible solution — at least until the feds get off their asses and do what they’re Constitutionally bound to do — could be this: citizen surveillance of the U.S./Mexico border.

That’s exactly what happened last month, to much ballyhoo from the mainstream media.

For two weeks in April, the Minuteman Project, a group of concerned U.S. citizens from all over the country, assembled and patrolled a notoriously high-traffic zone for illegal aliens — a 23-mile stretch of U.S/Mexico border in Cochise County, Ariz.

Armed with nothing more than binoculars and radios (though some unaffiliated participants were packing heat, perfectly legally), Minuteman Project volunteers are reported to have directed authorities to 349 arrests.

Even more impressive is this: According to a recent Washington Times investigative report, Customs field agents credit the presence of the volunteers with radically curbing illegal traffic in the patrolled zone — reducing the average number of arrests from 500 per day (!) to less than 15 daily.

Area residents were so grateful they took out a full-page ad in the local newspaper thanking the Minuteman volunteers for “the quietest month we’ve had in many years,” immigration-wise. 

Much to the chagrin of the throngs of reporters and cameramen in attendance (locals said they outnumbered the 800-plus volunteers), no illegal immigrants were beaten, shot, set upon by dogs, or run down with 4x4s by these “vigilantes,” despite them having been largely caricaturized in the media as racist militiamen with wild eyes and sniper’s rifles — instead of American citizens doing what their spineless, PC government won’t.

There was some contact between Minutemen and illegals, however: One volunteer fed a severely dehydrated border runner he’d tracked down a bowl of cereal and milk while awaiting authorities — and even gave the man $20 American and a brand-new T-shirt as the Border Patrol officials took him into custody (no doubt for a free ride home without penalty)…

Despite this overzealous, racist, and violent conduct, the Minuteman volunteer was not charged with any crime. He must have been somehow spared from prosecution for his heinous acts by secret forces within the vast racist conspiracy of White America…

The Minutement: Bordering on Conspiracy

What’s even more disturbing to me than the media’s hopelessly biased reporting of the Minuteman Project’s Arizona border campaign — and the fact that hardly any of the mainstream sources reported how well it actually worked — is the reaction from the top brass at the Border Patrol itself. Talk about a conspiracy…

According to the Times piece, more than a dozen Border Patrol agents (all remaining anonymous, for fear of repercussions) claimed that since the Minuteman campaign, they have been ordered NOT to make any more than the bare minimum of arrests of illegals crossing the border in that 23-mile zone the volunteers successfully monitored.

Why? Because the Border Patrol (or whoever’s puppeting them in the DHS) doesn’t want arrest records showing how effective the Minutemen really were.

In other words: They don’t want the likes of you and me knowing we can make a huge difference…

And they’re willing to let thousands of illegals into our country to prevent it.

Yes, you read that right — the U.S. Border Patrol has severely limited patrols in the “Minuteman zone” and ordered officers to stand down and LET ILLEGALS WALK IN, except to maintain an ordinary “quota” number of arrests.

This not according to a single disgruntled agent, but a dozen or more active-duty Border Patrol officers. Don’t take my word for it — look up the May 13, 2005, article by Jerry Seper ( entitled “Border Patrol Told to Stand Down in Arizona.” You simply won’t believe it…

You also won’t believe (yeah, you actually probably will) that you haven’t read this version of the story in the headlines of every major newspaper or heard about it on every major TV newscast.

As shocking as this cover-up is to me, the bottom line is this: Most people, especially those in the news media, seem to have no conception of their rights to a secure nation, even if they have to make it secure themselves.

This country’s out-of-touch media (and most of the elected officials, I’m sure) would portray as criminal vigilantes those who have every right to exercise their First Amendment right to not only say whatever they want about the immigration situation, but peaceably assemble on public lands — and for that matter, to exercise their Second Amendment right to do so while armed, if they choose.

Seriously, if a horde of American citizens wants to stand shoulder to shoulder the length of the Mexican border armed to the teeth while singing at the top of their lungs

            “This land is my land, it isn’t your land,
             I’ve got a shotgun, and you ain’t got one,
            I’ll blow your head off, if you don’t get off…
            This land is U.S. property!”

…they (you) have EVERY RIGHT to, whether the Dan Rathers of the world like it or not.

Now listen, I’m not saying this kind of thing should happen — even though it wouldn’t be illegal, anarchic, racist, or vigilante. I think it would be not only a tragedy, but also a colossal failure of our system if this crisis came to any end like that.

What I am saying is that it could happen anyway if the feds don’t stop using the Constitution for toilet paper and develop a real solution to rampant illegal immigration…

They can’t expect patriotic Americans to just sit back and do nothing while they’re overrun — especially if word gets out about how well “volunteer vigilance” works!

Watchdogging borders — but not taking orders,

Jim Amrhein
Contributing Editor
Whiskey & Gunpowder
May 31, 2005