Minuteman Factions Launch Competing Border Vigils

Would the real anti-immigrant vigilante group please stand up?

This summer we noted the apparent meltdown of both factions of the national Minuteman movement, anti-immigrant vigilantes that rose to stardom during an armed “border vigil” in 2005. Back then, disagreements about funding caused the group to split, with Chris Simcox heading the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) and Jim Gilchrist heading the Minuteman Project. More recently, Simcox faced criticism over dubious financial management, with his own volunteer leaders complaining that promised money wasn’t arriving and his IRS filings showing revenue mostly going towards “personnel services.” When several of his officers and 14 state coordinators demanded a meeting with Simcox to address their concerns, he promptly fired them all for insubordination.

Meanwhile, Gilchrist’s smaller outfit had its own trouble: The ostensible board ousted Gilchrist over money management. Gilchrist sued to regain the group’s paltry assets, and, giving up, started a new group called Jim Gilchrist’s Minuteman Project.

On Saturday, the ex-Minutemen who were booted from MCDC by Simcox assembled a “border vigil” near Palominas, Arizona, calling themselves the Patriots’ Border Alliance. Joining them is Gilchrist of the Minuteman Project.. Coincidentally, the defectors’ 30-day project, called “Operation Allied Minutemen,” began just one day after MCDC’s own 30-day “vigil,” “Operation Secure America.”

In response, reports the Washington Times, Simcox reiterated his claim that members of this new faction were terminated from MCDC for “purposefully undermining the national operations” of the organization, and that others “failed in their roles as national directors … fixated on a conspiracy theory that our finances are not in order, and voluntarily tucked their tails between their legs and quit.”

Mr. Simcox also said that while the PBA’s operational procedures are in violation of county ordinances in Arizona, “We wish them luck. We continue with our extremely successful mission of ensuring our borders are secured.”

As the two bickering Minutemen factions compete for the scarce media coverage of their events—a far cry from the circus of 2005—we can only imagine the scene on the border: