The Sad State of the Anti-Immigration Movement

Earlier this month, it was announced that Bob Barr, Tom Tancredo, Alan Keyes, and Chuck Baldwin would be joining together for an anti-immigration press conference organized by the Minuteman during the Democratic Convention in an attempt to inject the issue back into the presidential campaign.

So how did it go?    

A rally by the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps featuring Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr drew just a few dozen people.

Held at a Denver park a few miles away from the Democratic National Convention, the rally was more of a picnic, where even some counter-protesters shouting obscenities at the anti-illegal immigration activists failed to stir much emotion.

Even Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Republican who launched a short-lived presidential bid earlier this year largely based on his call for an immigration overhaul, showed up late to the rally wearing a golf shirt and loafers and started his remarks by quipping, “I’m like yesterday’s news.”

Tancredo added, though, that the public interest in immigration issues has been understated by the media and even his own political party.

“I don’t care how many times people tell me this issue is no longer important, that voters don’t care about it anymore, it’s still out there,” Tancredo said.

Maybe so, but many of the anti-illegal immigration activists seemed unconvinced the topic would influence this fall’s campaigns.

After independent presidential candidate Alan Keyes addressed the group, he was surrounded by supporters — who asked about abortion.

Minutemen organizers insisted the rally was a success, and that the immigration debate hasn’t faded.

The reason nobody showed up, said Minuteman President Chris Simcox, was because the media, the Republicans, and the Democrats are colluding to keep the issue out of the campaign and away from the public eye. But Simcox is undaunted:

“This is a national movement,” said Minuteman President Chris Simcox, who said membership was either holding steady or increasing across the country. “This is just the beginning.”