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5 Minuteman Project Protestors Get Themselves Arrested

By Sam Bakken in News on Oct 19, 2005 6:54AM

10_2005_minuteman.jpgA group "dedicated to legal compliance and maintaining US sovereignty by enforcement of Immigration law", the Chicago Minuteman Project (check out their theme song on the "Downloads" page), held its inaugural meeting in Arlington Heights on Saturday. Approximately 400 people showed up to protest the meeting and five of them were arrested after a scuffle erupted at around 11:00 a.m. Police allege that bottles and other projectiles were thrown at them prompting them to call in 150 officers to help settle the ruckus. The five individuals arrested were all Chicago residents and were released after they posted bail. One of the arrested, 23-year-old Kara K. Norlander, said "Our actions were justified. Five people were arrested in a deliberate attempt to protest these people planning to hunt and trap immigrants." Mmmkay Kara. Who are the vigilantes again?

The Chicago Minuteman Project is modeled after the Arizona Minuteman Project founded by current congressional candidate Jim Gilchrist. The media jumped all over Gilchrist in April when his group patrolled a twenty-three mile stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border looking for illegal border-crossers.

We admit that when we first heard about the project we worried about armed vigilantes stringing-up ambitious Mexicans. But, though some of the members did carry licensed handguns (not cool), the organization enforces a strict policy that members are not to make contact with presumed illegal immigrants—they are only to contact authorities.

We went swimming in the Google ocean and couldn't find any evidence of vigilante justice executed by the group (at least any convictions). But we did find a press release from the ACLU condemning Minuteman Bryan Barton for the "unlawful imprisonment" of a man he suspected was an illegal immigrant (the Minutemen have since dismissed Barton for violating the no contact order). It goes on to say, "The men physically restrained a 26-year-old Mexican man and forced him to hold a shirt while his picture was taken and he was videotaped." But you can watch the video here (under the "DOCUMENTARY VIDEOS" heading) and see that the only physical restraint was a hug in which the Mexican man willingly participated. The video's editors may have gotten creative, but it seems to us that the man appreciated the Wheaties and milk.

Whatever. It's funny that critics claim the Minutemen are scaredy cats when it seems the critics themselves are worked up, and fearful, of what amounts to a bunch of dweebs that have a dorky hobby. And anyway, isn't it usually a good thing to alert the authorities when you think a law is being broken? We're not going to join the Minutemen or herald their work (we think its members could seek more authentic meaning elsewhere), but whatever. As long as they don't break any laws themselves, who cares?