Sunday, August 13, 2006

Employer Sanctions: The Minutemen Target Companies that Hire Illegal Aliens

In an earlier post I noted how the Minutemen vigilante group recently scored a big victory locally in shutting down a Laguna Beach day labor hiring center. The group is apparently developing a reputation as an innovative non-governmental organization, as this Business Week article on the Minutemen's new corporate targeting tactics illustrates:

Employers, brace yourselves. From Atlanta to Chicago to Denver, the Minutemen are setting their sights on you. This army of angry citizens plans to police your workplace, and if they find any illegals, they'll report you to the government. In case you've never heard of it, the Minuteman movement originated two years ago and gained notoriety for sending members armed with binoculars to states that border Mexico. When the volunteers spot people entering the country, they call the U.S. Border Patrol. Critics, including President George W. Bush, characterize them as "vigilantes." Now dozens of branches are popping up in the heartland. They're targeting companies as well as workers. "If we can take one big employer down -- handcuffs, federal prison terms, their property seized -- we will make a great step forward toward having our laws enforced," proclaims Jim Gilchrist, a 56-year-old retired accountant who founded the Minuteman Project in California in 2004 out of anger at illegal immigration. He says his group, which is supported by dues and donations, has seen its national membership jump by 1,000 since April, to 2,500. A like-minded group, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, which claims 8,000 members in 49 chapters, also has begun targeting employers who use day laborers.
Immigration reform has recently moved off the political agenda, and Republican inability to push through comprehensive immigration legislation may provide the Democrats with some additional ammunition this fall in a growing arsenal of attacks on the GOP's "do nothing" Congress.

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