The co-founder of an organization composed of armed Americans adamantly opposed to illegal immigration says he plans to recruit as many as 3,500 volunteers to participate in a massive border fortification next year.
Minutemen Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist announced earlier this month that he has begun planning for the event, “Operation Normandy,” to be waged on May 1, 2015 along what he calls the “porous areas” between San Diego, California and Brownsville, Texas.
“If you are familiar with the Normandy invasion of France in 1944, then you have an idea how large and logistically complicated this event will be,” Gilchrist wrote in an announcement on the Minutemen Project website. “However, there is one difference. We are not going to the border to invade anyone. We are going there to stop an invasion.”
“Operation Normandy will provide a vital defense against the waves of illegal aliens flooding over the border in search of welfare benefits, jobs and school places that rightfully belong to American citizens,” Gilchrist added. “In the spirit of the original Minutemen, I believe the only solution is to once again defend our United States. Next May, I shall head to the Southern Border to stand against this invasion.”
Gilchrist co-founded the Minutemen Project activist organization in 2005, and soon after made headlines for the militia’s efforts to curb illegal immigration by hosting training sessions for recruits and sending armed volunteers to the border. Now in the midst of reports that more migrant children than ever are illegally crossing into the US in record numbers, Gilchrist says he wants his group to once again focus its energy on fortifying America’s southern border.
“Our federal, state and community governments have failed to address and fix this calamity. In the spirit of our nation’s Founding Fathers, it is once again time to bring unprecedented national awareness to the decades-long illegal alien crisis jeopardizing the United States,” Gilchrist wrote.
Unlike the historic landing at Normandy, however, Gilchrist likely won’t be surprising anyone if his plan to put militiamen on the border comes to fruition. The allied invasion during World War Two was largely a success, historians agree, due to the forces’ ability to plan and perfect an attack in utmost secrecy; in Gilchrist’s case, he’s giving advanced notice nearly a year in advance.
According to Gilchrist, “It will take 10 months to recruit, organize and launch this event.”
Speaking to KPHO-TV earlier this month, Gilchrist added that he doesn’t want his militiamen to act aggressively. Rather, he said, his group will only assist federal border agents overwhelmed by the influx of immigrants.
“You do not put a hand on anyone, you do not talk to anyone, you do not confront anyone,” Gilchrist told the network. “You report to Border Patrol.”
Earlier this month, US Customs and Border Protection issued a statement responding to similar announcements made by other Americans who’ve expressed interest in defending against an alleged “invasion.”
"Customs and Border Protection does not endorse or support any private group or organization from taking matters into their own hands as it could have disastrous, personal and public safety consequence," it read in part. "CBP appreciates the efforts of concerned citizens as they act as our eyes and ears. Securing our nation's borders can be dangerous. Interdicting narcotics and deterring and apprehending individuals illegally entering the US requires highly trained law enforcement personnel.”
And as for Gilchrist’s latest efforts, opponents are already chiming in to condemn his organization’s planned activities: his “Operation Normandy” initiative was profiled on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch” blog this week, where earlier in the month the site spoke up against his “tendency toward delusional grandiosity.”
“The most chilling aspect of the possible involvement of the Minutemen in the increasingly tense fight over how US immigration officials handle the humanitarian crisis at the border involving large numbers of Central American children– who, under laws passed in 2002,cannot be immediately deported but must undergo complex hearings to determine if they warrant asylum – lies in their established track record,” the SPLC said earlier this month. Previously, former Minuteman leader Shawn Forde was charged with murdering a 9-year-old girl and her father, and another ex-affiliate is currently awaiting trial on three counts of child molestation.
According to US officials, upwards of 52,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed the Mexican border into the United States in southwest Texas in the first half of 2014.