Published July 10, 2014FoxNews.com
June 25, 2014: A group of immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are stopped in Granjeno, Texas. Jim Gilchrist, founder and president of the Minuteman Project, said the current immigration flood in the state highlighted the need for a return. (AP/Eric Gay, File)
The Minuteman Project — the controversial civilian patrol that came to prominence a decade ago — is riding out of retirement in a bid to help tackle the illegal immigration crisis at the Mexico border.
The group, which patrolled parts of the 2,000-mile border from 2005-2010, acting as unarmed and unsanctioned eyes and ears of the Border Patrol, is trying to recruit a force of thousands to help keep illegal immigrants from making their way into the United States from Mexico. Minutemen founder and president Jim Gilchrist said preparation for “Operation Normandy” will take place over the next 10 months as the dormant group seeks to recruit and organize as many as 3,500 volunteers.
“We are coming because we no longer trust that this government knows how to handle this issue,” Gilchrist told FoxNews.com. “This is going to dwarf the original Minuteman Project and I expect a number of militia groups to join.”
“This problem is not going away and if the government cannot take care of it and protect us, then clearly it’s our duty and obligation to do it for them.”- Jim Gilchrist, founder and president, The Minuteman Project
The Minuteman Project gained national traction in 2005, but internal turmoil, accusations of vigilantism and criminal charges against some of its key figures, including a former leader of the movement, Chris Simcox, led to its demise. Gilchrist said the group’s last significant border operation was conducted in July 2010, roughly one year after the high-profile robbery and murder of Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas, Jr., who was fatally shot during a struggle for his night vision device on the international border near Campo, Calif.
Gilchrist accused the Obama administration of not taking illegal immigration seriously, noting the nearly 60,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from Central America, have been apprehended along the border since Oct. 1. Separately, more than 39,000 immigrants, primarily mothers and children, have also been arrested in that same period.