Video: Minutemen take control

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updated 4/4/2006 8:46:29 PM ET 2006-04-05T00:46:29

Thousands of Americans are massing along our southwest border tonight.  You might think they're government agents, but they're not. These volunteers are civilian members of the Minutemen.  They patrol the border for illegal immigrants. They do it for free on their own time, and they say it's a job the government ought to be doing. 

Tucker discussed the program with Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minutemen Project.  

CARLSON:  For those who aren't familiar with the Minutemen, what exactly are they doing on our borders tonight?

JIM GILCHRIST, FOUNDER, MINUTEMEN PROJECT:  We're the world's largest neighborhood watch, you might say.  We're simply an immigration law enforcement advocacy group.  And what we do is simply observe, take a position along the border, the 2,000 miles of the southern border and part of the northern border.  And we strictly observe and report to border patrol and sometimes local sheriff's departments any suspected criminal activity.  And that could be either trespassing over our international border into the United States bringing drugs in or other contraband. 

We do not confront.  We do not make contact with these persons who are piercing our borders.  We simply report.  It's no different than seeing someone trespassing in your neighbor's private property and you call your local law enforcement to report that. 

CARLSON:  Now, you have been, of course, accused of being a lot of things by people who are for illegal immigration and simply don't like you: being a vigilante, et cetera.  But isn't it inevitable that at some point Minutemen are going to get into an altercation either with illegal aliens or with their advocates, and it's going to become physical?  Are you worried about that?

GILCHRIST:  That's already happened at least three dozen times.  We have already been assaulted, including bricks, an eight-pound brick thrown through a windshield at an 80-year-old woman who simply came to hear me speak about why I put the Minutemen Project together.  That person is facing probably five years in prison.  It will be going to trial soon. 

And we've had people splash acid-mixed water into our eyes on the border, charging up against us, surrounding us.  We do have much better law enforcement protection now than we had in the past. 

But our policy has always been not to be the assailants, to be the victims defending the United States of America.  And we knew that people like this were out there.  Some of them are related to the drug cartels and the human cargo cartels who want us away from the border, because it's such a lawless society down there. With us there, they cannot conduct their lawless activity. 

CARLSON:  So the Bush administration must love you.  I mean, here for free you're doing what they would be paying federal employees millions and millions of dollars a year to do.  I mean, have you gotten a call directly from the president to thank you for your good works?

GILCHRIST:  No.  All I've gotten from the president is referred to as, in the pejorative sense, vigilantes. 

CARLSON:  Now why would you suppose that is?  Why would a conservative president, who claims to care about the security of our borders, attack you, an upstanding American citizen, who merely wants to help law enforcement enforce the law?  Why would he attack you?

GILCHRIST:  Perhaps because I'm your average Joe Citizen who decided to simply do something about what I saw as political corruption, dereliction of duty, and blatant and reckless disregard for the rule of law. 

Something that as long as we respect the rule of law, we will remain a very prosperous and a very safe land, a nation, that can look forward to a lot of domestic tranquility. 

And we have been simply a gross embarrassment to the governors of our states all the way down to the city council members who have also kept their head in the sand over this issue.  And certainly, for almost all of the U.S. Senate and most of the members of the House of Representatives, with the simple exception of Congressman Tancredo, who is certainly a pioneer. 

There's going to be a resolution to this problem.  I'm an independent voter.  But my personal opinion, that resolution will come from within the Republican Party under the leadership of Tom Tancredo, J.D. Hayworth and Jim Sensenbrenner. 

CARLSON:  You've got to hope so.  But you know, in the meantime, I'm glad you're there embarrassing the hell out of people who claim to care about border security but who really don't.  Jim Gilchrist, thanks.

GILCHRIST:  Thank you for your support. 

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