Jim Gilchrist, the Aliso Viejo accountant who co-founded the Minuteman Project, was forced offstage seconds into his speech at Columbia University on Wednesday night by students who said his anti-illegal immigration message was not welcome in New York.Not a legitimate voice? Really? These student protesters are sick! Commentators frequently remind us of the essential intolerance of the radical left, and here's another good example.
Gilchrist, who was invited by the Columbia University College Republicans, was unharmed but was unable to continue speaking as planned and was forced to leave the stage after an altercation with students.
Afterward, Gilchrist said Columbia "is a gutter school. The students are not being taught how to learn but how to hate…. It is a shame that we cannot discuss the issues."
Referring to immigration enforcement, he said the students "simply do not want to accept that this is about being in a country that respects the rule of law"....
Gilchrist gained a national reputation after organizing citizen border patrols to spot illegal immigrants, an activity that prompted President Bush to call him a vigilante.
The Columbia melee began after two students rushed from behind the stage toward Gilchrist and unrolled a banner that read in Spanish, English and Arabic, "No One Is Illegal."
Seeing the two, others in the audience ran toward the stage, including about two dozen who managed to get onto the 3-foot-high platform, past security guards and ropes, where Gilchrist was only a few words into his speech.
The lectern was knocked over and Gilchrist fell back, smashing his reading glasses."
It was pandemonium. Tables and chairs were knocked over. The microphones were ripped out. Papers were all over," said Chris Kulawik, president of the College Republicans chapter, which also paid his travel costs.
No one was arrested. The incident was videotaped and shown on TV newscasts.
On Thursday, a statement was issued on the Internet, including on the Minuteman site, by people saying they were "those who occupied the stage":
"We peacefully occupied the stage and spoke ourselves. Our peaceful protest was violently attacked by members of the College Republicans and their supporters…. The Minutemen are not a legitimate voice in the debate on immigration. They are a racist, armed militia who have declared open hunting season on immigrants."
I take issue with the radical attack on those who support comprehensive immigration reform. Our current immigration system is badly out of whack. As I have written many times on this page, legal immigration is what made this country great, but I absolutely abhor the radical reconquista agenda of the American multicultural left.
I live in the 48th congressional district, and I voted for Gilchrist in the 2005 special election to replace former U.S. Representative Christopher Cox, who's now the Chairman of the SEC. Moderate Republican John Campbell won the seat, and since taking office he's apparently developed a record as a tough-on-business, anti-amnesty legislator. I'll vote for him come November in his reelection bid, in the hope that the GOP retains the Congress (the chances of which are looking worse all the time).