Saturday, April 02, 2005

US/Mexico Border Policy - the "Minuteman Project"

One day into our experiment and we already have our first special request! Reader monterey63 has asked:

"I would like to post a blog on the volunteers watching the American/Mexico border for illegals."

Other readers can click here for a brief article from about the matter. This is very interesting to me. I happen to live in Phoenix, AZ which has become an epicenter of Mexican migration since the border security between California and Mexico was tightened in the early 90's. Before I weigh in on the matter - I'll throw it out to monterey63 and the rest of the audience - what do you think can be done or should be done about the issue.

Hang on to your hat's folks - this one should be good...


monterey63 said...

The reason I wanted to start this blog is not to discuss Mexican/American policy. My question is more about a citizen’s group’s right to take whatever steps they see as reasonable.

In this case, between 450 and 1000 (depending on who you believe) people have volunteered to stand guard at the Mexican border in the San Pedro Valley of Arizona. 23 miles worth of men in dusty SUVs, armed with binoculars, cell phones and walkie talkies. Their premise is to do what they say the federal government can’t, keep out illegal Mexican aliens.

So then, what is to stop a group of concerned citizens from monitoring the activity of gay couples so that they might enforce sodomy laws that are still current in many states today? What about a group that calls the police with the license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions of bar patrons leaving at closing time?

There was a moment in our history when a citizen’s militia was necessary, is it still?

I look forward to your thoughts.

P.S, I believe in open borders if you prefer to go there.

James Sayno said...

Well, as of the last count the Minuteman Project said that it had 498 volunteers sign up for their border patrol. Observers have not seen even half that many show up. They have also been mildly "successful" - it was reported on our local news their efforts managed to get 18 migrants arrested.

The last broadcast I saw said the organizers of the project did not have any illusion of actually preventing migration, instead they wanted to draw attention to the problem and get lawmakers to enforce the laws already on the books about illegal immigration. Their procedure is to identity suspicious persons and then notify the border patrol.

My first feeling is: They are congregating under their 1st Amendment rights - as long as they are peaceably assembled. No problem there.

My second feeling is there may be a question of liberty here - are the volunteers violating anyone's liberty by their actions? If I am breaking a law - do I have the principles of liberty on my side? Or am I, by violating a law, necessarily giving up my liberty by infringing on others.

I would think that if I am violating a law, I do not have liberty on my side. If I am leaving a bar intoxicated and drive home, is the citizen that calls the police in error? I think not.

As far as sodomy laws, that's a touchy subject. One could argue that those laws themselves may violate the 14th Amendment - "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the priveleges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"

So is it the volunteers and their actions that I have a problem with? No. Is it the laws that we should consider in violation of liberty? Probably, in the example of gay couples and sodomy laws.

Is a citizen's militia still necessary? I would argue that it is more necessary now than it has been since our country was formed.

Good thing you answered that open borders issue - I was definitely on the wrong track with my thinking until you mentioned that

James Sayno said...

Well, no sooner do I say the "Minuteman Project" is ok to congregate under their first amendment rights than they go and do something that most had feared from the beginning.

Reported by this morning was an incident where a 3 man Minuteman patrol held a suspect against his will and took a mocking photograph of him. Definitely not the kind of actions they should undertake by any means.

Also stated in the article that they are creating many false alarms and their footprints are getting in the way of the Border Patrols investigation and tracking of migrants.

So now we have a legal congregation overstepping its bounds. I suppose it was going to happen.

Tateum Bowers said...

The question of liberty was raised. I certainly would hold that the right to life is natural or universal. I would also argue that every individual, regardless of nationality, should be able to exercise that right to life and live however one chooses. However, governments often impede an individual’s ability to do so. The Constitution was designed to prevent such impediments for U.S. citizens by guaranteeing particular rights for individuals while limiting government’s power. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say these rights are also guaranteed for the rest of the world’s nation’s citizens. So, if one attempts to enter the U.S. illegally the only right they have is that to life. Not the right to live that life in the U.S., merely the right not to be killed. This stance is perhaps upheld in that if an illegal immigrant is discovered, they are deported without a trial by a jury of peers, a most fundamental right guaranteed to U.S. citizens, and even those who are not citizens but are in the U.S. legitimately.

As for the issue of open borders, I am not in favor of such policy. Nations are founded on principles central to the hearts of most citizens. Opening borders reduces the solvency of a nation’s people and reduces the likelihood of finding agreement in a majority as well as reduces culture inherent to a national identity, and instead promotes diversification of people promoting differing cultural values than the nation was founded on.

Many people who argue for open borders point out the potential economic gains to be had. However, unrestricting international trade and promoting free trade could have similar gains.