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Friday, Jul. 28, 2006 at 1:57 PM
by Michelle Nichols 07/26/2006 6:14 pm
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Immigration activists clashed at the site of the World Trade Center on Wednesday when an anti-illegal immigration group called for secure borders to avoid a repeat of the September 11 attacks and counterprotesters yelled "racists go home."
Members of the Minuteman Project, which patrols the U.S.-Mexican border for illegal immigrants, pushed and shoved members of an immigrant rights group that showed up at the event.
Jim Gilchrist and Jerome Corsi, authors of "Minutemen: The Battle to Secure America's Borders," were whisked away when some immigrant rights supporters broke through a police barrier and scuffled with Minutemen supporters.
Corsi, who also wrote a book critical of Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, accused President Bush of leaving U.S. borders wide open.
"When the World Trade Center was attacked, we saw a failure of the Bush administration to protect our borders and to enforce our immigration laws. This tragedy could be repeated," Corsi said.
Gilchrist and Corsi said they held their event at Ground Zero to dedicate their book to the families of the September 11 victims.
About 50 immigrant rights advocates waved placards reading, "New York is an immigrant town -- Minuteman not welcome," while about 30 anti-illegal immigration protesters held banners that said, "Stop the invasion" and "U.S. jobs for U.S. citizens."
Polls show immigration reform is an important issue to many Americans, but negotiations over immigration reform have stalled in the U.S. Congress. The House of Representatives and the Senate have passed vastly different bills and it is increasingly unlikely the two sides will bridge differences ahead of the November congressional elections.
Senate legislation would give the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants a chance to earn U.S. citizenship, while the House bill that would criminalize illegal presence.
Stephen Durham, 58, was one of 50 activists who protested the Minutemen's appearance in New York.
"I'm really appalled that (the Minuteman Project) would use 9/11 to publicize a plan (to secure U.S. borders) which is fundamentally so unconstitutional and un-American," he said. "We are all immigrants. Immigrant labor built America."
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|after making that plea
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