USA: Minuteman Grows Amid Illegal Immigration Fight

Minuteman Grows Amid Illegal Immigration Fight


"It's not about skin color, it's about breaking the law," said Hayes, who oversees Kansas and Missouri chapters of the MCDC.

Retired Kansas policeman Ed Hayes lives a quiet life with his wife and pet poodles in a spacious suburban home near Kansas City, far from the main front line over illegal immigration along the U.S. border with Mexico.

But over the last 18 months the 66-year-old grandfather has been drawn into the battle nonetheless, becoming active on a second front.

He has joined many individuals, who, with state and municipal leaders, have given up waiting for federal action and are working to control illegal immigration themselves.

The issue has become a priority not only for activists like Hayes but also for state and local leaders around the United States who say illegal immigration limits job opportunities for Amricans and severely strains community resources.

Hayes is a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), a national organization that is one of several groups that have formed, including one in Oklahoma called Outraged Patriots.

"It's not about skin color, it's about breaking the law," said Hayes, who oversees Kansas and Missouri chapters of the MCDC.

Hayes hasn't yet engaged in a Minuteman border patrol, in which armed members actually search along the U.S.-Mexican border for those trying to cross illegally.

His efforts are generally restricted to joining with other like-minded Midwesterners in picketing construction sites employing undocumented workers or handing out pamphlets at carnivals and gun shows.


The Minuteman group has a controversial reputation. Critics see it as a sometimes violent, racist organization of would-be vigilantes and some classify it as a hate group. But supporters say the group is non-violent and only aims to enforce the law.

"We demand border security, enforce our immigration laws, and make sure you hold people who hire illegal immigrants accountable," said MCDC national executive director Al Garza.

Minuteman membership has been growing nationally recently, with hundreds of new members added in the last three months, according to Garza.

A new chapter is starting in Colorado with a new-member meeting Nov. 17, and the group now has some form of representation in nearly every state with a total of more than 9,000 members, Garza said.