CALEXICO, SEPTEMBER 17, 2005--Early afternoon reports from anti-minutemen leadership indicate Andy Ramirez and his Friends of the Border Patrol have
abandoned Imperial Valley.
According to San Diego
Indymedia, this morning protestors entered an FBP training session and disrupted the meeting. Several were handcuffed and detained, and one protestor
of color was charged with a misdemeanor. Later reports indicate that FBP
has determined that Imperial Valley residents and visiting protestors had made
Calexico unwelcome for the minutemen and that they were withdrawing, perhaps to
their other camps in Campo and Smuggler's Gulch.
Gente Unida, a San Diego group leading the fight against the vigilantes, held
a press conference at Smuggler's Gulch this morning. The Buenas Noches
Brigade, which successfully disrupted minuteman activities in Campo in July, has
allied with the Buenas
Noches Army in a call for autonomous direct action against minutemen along
This afternoon, Ramirez appeared at a press conference in Calexico with ten
supporters, although he claimed a membership of 125 migrant hunters including
armed law enforcement agents. Ramirez headed the 1994 Save Our State
campaign supporting Proposition 187. Friends of the Border Patrol is
chaired by Ron Prince, co-author of Prop 187.
Last week, according to the San
Diego Tribune, the Calexico City Council had unanimously voted that the
minutemen were not welcome in their city. Today they were joined in a
rally and march by buses, passenger vans, and caravans from as far away as San
Francisco, with the announced intention of forcing FBP to withdraw from
Calexico. The o.r.g.a.n.i.c.
Collective, Anarchist Action San
Francisco, Bay Area Coalition to Fight the Minutemen, Blast Furnace Radio of
Pittsburgh, ABC Melbourne Australia, Anti-Racist Action LA, Gente Unida
Coalition, La Tierra es de Todos Coalition, San Diego Renters Union, Peninsula
Anarchist Collective, San Diego Indymedia, El Laboratorio de Integracion
Plastica "La Gargola" of Mexico City, D.F. endorsed the protest.
James Chase and a small contingent of his California Minutemen group, who had
scurried to Campo to "cover" for the hundred U.S. Border Patrol agents
dispatched to New Orleans, left their campsite on Thursday, possibly to avoid
clashes with FBP and the protestors. Chase was persona non grata with
Ramirez and evicted from the nationwide Minuteman Project because he espoused
the use of civilian snipers to hunt migrants. Chris Simcox, leading the
Minuteman Project with Jim Gilchrist, has since endorsed Chase.
Although the minutemen movement appears to be crumbling in California, it
remains a political force in other Southwest border states, and it appears to
have captured the attention of Republicans, who hope to make "illegal"
immigration a 2006 election issue.