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California Groups Unite Against Minutemen

On Saturday, September 17 at 5:00 p.m., groups and individuals from
across Southern California are caravanning to Calexico to stop the
CALEXICO, CA--Hundreds of people from across California will converge at
the International Border Park, First and Paulin Streets inn Calexico on
Saturday, September 17 at 5:00 p.m. to rally and march against the presence
of vigilante minutemen on the California border.

Beginning at East Los Angeles College at 11:00 a.m., La Tierra es de Todos
will convoy to Calexico in cars and passenger vans. The Bay Area Coalition
to Fight the Minutemen has chartered two buses to transport people from the
San Francisco area. Gente Unida and The o.r.g.a.n.i.c. Collective from San
Diego will also caravanning to Calexico, where opponents of the minutemen
will meet up with Calexico residents in a joint protest with residents of
Mexicali across the border.

Last week, the Calexico City Council unanimously passed a resolution
condemning civilian border patrol groups. "They are not needed here," Alex
Perrone, the mayor of Calexico, elaborated. "If they come, I am going to
tell these minutemen and Friends of the Border Patrol, 'Go there to New
Orleans. Show you're patriotic and help your fellow man.'"

The Mexican press routinely refers to the armed civilian groups
collectively calling themselves minutemen as "cazamigrantes," or migrant
hunters. Since April, the migrant hunters have taken up positions along the
border to assist the U.S. Border Patrol in arresting and detaining border

The appearance of the minutemen has sparked a broad mobilization of migrant
and Latino rights organizations on both sides of the border. Ranging from
the mainstream League of United Latin American Citizens to the Chicano
Brown Berets, organizations are convening demonstrations throughout
California, Arizona, and Texas, promoting local government resolutions and
calling for cross-border boycotts. Meeting in Mexico City last spring,
immigrant and human rights associations from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile,
Spain, and Mexico signed a joint declaration with US migrant advocates
opposing the minutemen.

In July, even as they flouted rifles, shotguns, and sidearms, the civilian
California Border Patrol was rousted by opponents from Campo, where "rogue"
minutemen shot and wounded two migrants. CPB returned to the border on
September 11 to replace the one hundred U.S. Border Patrol agents
dispatched to New Orleans.

Opponents of the minutemen timed their protest in Calexico to coordinate
with the arrival of Friends of the Border Patrol. Andy Ramirez, who headed
the Proposition 187 Save Our State effort, organized this newest
anti-migrant group. Ron Prince, co-author of Prop 187, chairs FBP.

Since the beginning of the minuteman patrols in Arizona last April, the
minutemen have been plagued with smaller than anticipated turnout and large
crowds of opponents demanding the minutemen "go home."

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