On April Fools' Day, the American Civil Liberties Union will show us what a joke its commitment to American civil liberties really is.
April 1st, in case you haven't heard, is the launch of the Minuteman Project, an all-volunteer effort by law-abiding American citizens to call attention to the nation's wide open southern border. Hundreds of Americans from New York to Michigan to California will travel down to the U.S.-Mexico border for a month to monitor illegal aliens and alert immigration enforcement officials if they witness law-breaking.
Call it the mother of all neighborhood watch programs.
In doing so, the Minutemen will be exercising their constitutionally protected freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Those would be fundamental civil liberties found in something called the, uh, First Amendment, of which the ACLU is supposed to be the foremost expert and champion. Or so the group and its celebrity supporters say. In sanctimonious new fund-raising ad campaigns, the organization features the likes of liberal actress Holly Hunter, who asks:
"Do you want to be heard without fear? I am not an American who believes that questioning or criticizing my government is unpatriotic."
Uh-huh. "Dissent is patriotic," the Left likes to preach. Except, apparently, if the questioning and criticizing deals with the government's abject failure to enforce immigration laws. Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist has been harassed by open-borders activists at his home. The group is reportedly being targeted by savage illegal alien gangsters from Mara Salvatrucha (a.k.a. MS-13). Mexican government officials are lobbying American law enforcement officials to suppress the Minutemen's rights to speak and assemble.
But instead of coming to the defense of the Minutemen who are challenging our government, the ACLU has warned the 1,000 volunteers that it will send monitors to document the Americans' activities. Moreover, the ACLU has already threatened lawsuits against the American dissenters for exercising their rights.
This bullying of pro-immigration enforcement activists comes as no surprise to those of us who have followed the ACLU's aggressive open-borders agenda — from its support for driver's licenses for illegal aliens, to its opposition to detaining illegal alien terror suspects after 9/11 and profiling foreign visitors from terror-friendly countries, to its efforts to stop local and state law enforcement officers from helping federal homeland security efforts.
ACLU of Arizona spokesman Ray Ybarra argues that the mere presence of the Minutemen at the border constitutes "unlawful imprisonment" of illegal (excuse me, "undocumented") aliens (excuse me, "migrants"). Ybarra told the Washington Times that the ACLU will have lawyers on standby ready to file civil cases against the volunteers. He warned that the Minutemen could "come to our state as 'vigilantes' and end up leaving as 'defendants.'"[ACLU to keep tabs on protest, by Jerry Seper, March 21, 2005]
The Minutemen have made it clear on their website and in repeated statements that they "will not violate anyone's civil rights, and will not abuse anyone from any country. . . . We will alert border patrol to the location of illegals, and wait for [the Border Patrol] to come and pick them up. We will follow illegal aliens from a distance and continue spotting them until authorities answer our cell phone and/or back-pack radio calls. All spotting, calls for assistance, and the response from the appropriate authorities will be chronicled and provided to any media representative."
Contrary to the ACLU and mainstream media representations of the group as racists and immigrant-bashers, the Minutemen are a diverse volunteer group that includes Americans of Mexican, Armenian, Russian, Lebanese, Indian and Cuban descent; and black and Native American minorities. Also among the volunteers are 19 legal immigrants from Mexico, Peru, Russia, New Zealand, England, Australia and the Philippines.
By recklessly linking the Minutemen to white separatists and casting them as outlaws, the civil liberties crowd engages in the very guilt-by-association smear tactics it has so loudly condemned. And in putting the protection of illegal aliens' rights over law-abiding Americans' civil liberties, the ACLU demonstrates on which side of the border its true allegiances lie.
Michelle Malkin [email her] is author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores. Click here for Peter Brimelow's review. Click here for Michelle Malkin's website.
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