Austin, Texas (Dec. 16, 2005) The Austin City Council yesterday
approved unanimously a resolution opposing the activities of the
Minutemen and other similar groups. The resolution cites concern over
untrained civilians taking immigration law into their own hands,
activities which may encourage discrimination and racial profiling.
The resolution directs the City Manager to report any vigilante activities to the City Council. The resolution was an initiative of the American Friends Service
Committee (AFSC) and the Coalition for Justice and Dignity in Austin, a
diverse coalition of immigrant and advocacy organizations. Fifty-eight
allied civic, faith and labor organizations were signatories to this
"We are pleased that Council recognized the dangers of vigilante groups
posturing as nothing more than neighborhood watch groups, and took
proactive action to diffuse any potentially violent situation," said
Yvonne Montejano of the AFSC.
The Minuteman Project and other vigilante groups say they are
protecting this country’s borders. Human rights organizations point out
that vigilante groups frequently use fear, intimidation and violent
tactics in their efforts to "secure" borders.
"These groups are providing simplistic answers to our nation’s
social, economic and political difficulties and many politicians are
jumping on the Minuteman bandwagon to distract the public from major
budget and employment problems," said Montejano.
Yesterday, U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner
(R-WI) introduced anti-immigrant legislation that would make the entire
undocumented population, including 1.6 million children, felons by
their unlawful presence in this country. The House Judiciary Committee
is also considering the construction of a fence in parts of California,
Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to stop the flow of migrants.
The AFSC strongly opposes these anti-immigrant measures and instead
calls for an examination of the roots cause of migration, which it
maintains are primarily due to free trade and globalization policies.
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization
that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social
justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the
belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to
overcome violence and injustice.
Note: press release received via email, Dec. 16, 2005–gm