August 4, 2014


The Meltdown of the Anti-Immigration Minuteman Militia : Why the the self-appointed border patrollers are nowhere to be seen. (Tim Murphy, Aug. 4, 2014, Mother Jones)

In early July, Chris Davis issued a call to arms. "You see an illegal, you point your gun right dead at them, right between the eyes, and say, 'Get back across the border, or you will be shot,'" the Texas-based militia commander said in a YouTube video heralding Operation Secure Our Border-Laredo Sector, a plan to block the wave of undocumented migrants coming into his state. "If you get any flak from sheriffs, city, or feds, Border Patrol, tell them, 'Look--this is our birthright. We have a right to secure our own land. This is our land.'"

Davis' video was publicized by local newspapers and the Los Angeles Times. But the militia never materialized in Laredo, and Davis walked back his comments. (The video has been taken down.) Over the last few weeks, a smaller force under Davis' watch has appeared along the southern border, spread thinly across three states. The fizzling of this grand mobilization was another reminder that the current immigration crisis has been missing a key ingredient of recent border showdowns: Bands of the heavily-armed self-appointed border guardians known as Minutemen.

During the past four years, the Minuteman groups that defined conservative immigration policy during the mid-to-late-2000s have mostly self-destructed--sometimes spectacularly so. Founding Minuteman leaders are in prison, facing criminal charges, dead, or sidelined. "It really attracted a lot of people that had some pretty extreme issues," says Juanita Molina, executive director of the Border Action Network, an advocacy group that provides aid to migrants in the desert. "We saw the movement implode on itself mostly because of that." An analysis by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors right-wing extremist groups, found that the number of Minuteman groups in the Southwest had declined from 310 to 38 between 2010 and 2012.

America is a hard place to sustain hatred.

Posted by at August 4, 2014 1:50 PM

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