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|2/26: Minutemen Establish Atlanta Chapter
Released 27 February 2007  By Associated Press
Minutemen Establish Atlanta Chapter
A group that patrols the U.S.-Mexico border and reports illegal immigrants
to authorities has made its debut in the Atlanta area.
The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps held the inaugural meeting of its North
Atlanta chapter Sunday at a tavern.
"This is actually an invasion that is sponsored by Mexico," Minuteman
organizer Todd Walker told the more than 40 people in attendance of illegal
immigration. "Our administration ... is doing nothing to stop it. Actually,
they're encouraging it."
With no border to patrol in Georgia, organizers said they are still
developing an action plan, but possibilities include surveillance of day
labor pickup sites, protesting at banks catering to illegal immigrants and
rallies at city council and county commission meetings. The group also could
send letters to warn companies they suspect of employing illegal immigrants.
The idea is to put pressure on employers and local governments who may be
far from the border but have the power to discourage people from crossing
it, said Tim Bueler, a spokesman for the Arizona-based group.
The North Atlanta chapter is the third Minuteman Civil Defense Corps group
to form in Georgia in the past two months. It joins the Northwest Georgia
and Athens Area chapters.
The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps is an offshoot of the Minuteman Project,
formed in late 2004 and early 2005 by Chris Simcox and retired California
accountant Jim Gilchrist to conduct a monthlong patrol along parts of the
Arizona border. Afterward, the two men split and created separate
organizations - Gilchrist keeping the Minuteman Project name and Simcox
organizing and heading the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.
In Georgia, members of the group blame illegal immigrants for the crime,
gang graffiti and poorly maintained homes that lower property values.
Mary Kirkendoll said homes designed for single families in her south Cobb
County neighborhood have turned into boarding houses for people who enter
the country illegally. And illegal immigrants are fueling the local drug
trade, she said, including a meth lab that police busted in a house next
door to her.
"We need to let our commissioners know that we need to protect our
neighborhoods, not protect the illegal Mexican workers," she said.
But across the street from the meeting, Mexico natives Felipe and Maria
Teresa Pedroza were waiting in line to file their income taxes. The
Jonesboro residents said groups such as the Minutemen fuel misconceptions
that all Latinos are in the U.S. illegally.
"I'm a citizen," Felipe Pedroza said.
However, at the meeting, Walker opened with a warning that the Minuteman
group will not tolerate racists.
"If you're offended by the color of someone's skin or their nation of
origin, please leave immediately," he said.
Walker would not disclose the group's membership in Georgia. But each
chapter has easily eclipsed the 24-member minimum required by the national
organization, he said.
After the hour-long introduction, the group asked a reporter at the meeting
to leave so they could hold a strategy session. But they said their actions
would not stay secret for long.
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