Minutemen Launch National Campaign in San Francisco

New America Media, News Report//Video, Words: Amanda Martinez//Video: Min Lee and Amanda Martinez Posted: Jul 31, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — In the first stop of the Minuteman Project's national campaign to protest sanctuary cities, about 20 Minutemen -- and 300 counter-protesters -- converged on City Hall Wednesday.

Jim Gilchrist, founder and president of The Minuteman Project, said the group will take time away from monitoring the border to call attention to the more than 100 U.S. cities known for protecting undocumented immigrants.

San Francisco, first declared a sanctuary city in 1989 by the board of supervisors, shields city employees from participating in immigration enforcement by prohibiting city workers, including police officers, from asking individuals for information about citizenship status.

Video: Minute Men and protesters clash at City Hall

Current district Supervisor Tom Ammiano says the sanctuary ordinance aims to improve public safety by supporting the immigrant community in reporting crimes and engaging in civic life. He says the policy allows everyone in the city to feel safe calling the police or fire department and taking their children to school or to the hospital.

Some 300 protesters turned out at the rally to defend the city’s sanctuary policies. One protester, Aurora Castellanos, an immigrant from Mexico who has been living in San Francisco for 10 years, says she and her community fully understand what it means to live in a sanctuary city. “It means that the government is protecting us so that we can feel safe to live here,” she explained. She believes that if the ordinance is retracted undocumented people will be afraid to walk down the street.

Owen Jones, a member of the Golden Gate Minutemen who was at the rally, believes illegal immigration has affected him personally. Jones, a contractor, says he made $40 an hour in 1988 and now makes only $36 an hour. His quality of life, he says, has been “stolen” by immigrants.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has made efforts to show his support for San Francisco as a sanctuary city. In April he put $83,000 dollars in funds toward an outreach campaign promising immigrants safe access to public services and informing residents about what a sanctuary city is.

One Salvadoran immigrant who benefited from the policy, Edwin Ramos, has been charged with three counts of murder for the June 22 shootings of 48-year-old Tony Bologna and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16. Ramos, now 21, was arrested as a 17-year-old for an assault and an attempted robbery, but city officials did not turn him over to federal immigration authorities.

As a sanctuary city, San Francisco upheld a practice of protecting immigrant minors who commit crimes from deportation by escorting them to their home countries or sending them to group homes.

But the Ramos case, coupled with the escape of eight undocumented youth who were convicted of drug charges in San Francisco from a group home in San Bernardino, has caused city officials to reverse the policy of protecting immigrant youth.

In a July 2 interview with news media, Mayor Newsom announced that the city would now turn over immigrant juveniles who are convicted of felonies to federal authorities.

"We've always said that you'll be deported if you commit felonies. That's been the case in the adult system. There's been this loophole in the juvenile system. That loophole has been closed," said Newsom.

The shift has not appeased the Minuteman Project. Gilchrist called for the resignation of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, saying that “San Francisco’s sanctuary city practices set the stage for the Bologna murders.”

Representatives from the Golden Gate Minutemen held signs calling the mayor, along with District Attorney Kamala Harris and William Siffermann of the city's Juvenile Probation Department, "accessories to murder" and “traitors to the United States.”

Renee Saucedo, director of a San Francisco day laborers’ program, believes that the Minutemen are using the Bologna tragedy to create hysteria and fear around sanctuary laws. “It has been proven that cities with sanctuary laws have safer communities,” she says, “because immigrant communities feel safer in accessing local law enforcement.”

For Supervisor Ammiano, the rally showed that the Minuteman campaign does not constitute a threat to the policies of sanctuary cities. “When their national call to action produces a dozen people, and we have hundreds of people in the streets defending our city's policy,” he says, “I think it's an indication that they will be met with strong opposition in any sanctuary city they go to.”

The Minuteman Project plans to continue its campaign in cities across Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Florida.

Photo: Suzanne Manneh / New America Media

Related Articles:

Minutemen Internal E-mails Show ‘Classic Racism’

Black and Brown Unite to Stop Minutemen

Blacks and the Minutemen: Two Views

Mad Max in Borderland -- Overnight With the Minutemen



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User Comments


Brittanicus on Aug 04, 2008 at 21:50:51 said:

Corrupt Incumbents need to thrown out of office? All & every politician that doesn't sponsor the Federal SAVE ACT (H.R.4088) Any elected official (Hired-help) which includes Governors, Mayors, councilman, city managers who pander to the Special Interest lobby. They should be tarred and feathered if they are in collusion with foreign governments like Mexico.

If Americans don't fight back against the Globalist tyranny that will swamp us with cheap labor. The Democrats who have gutted the border fence funding, so we will be dealing with Overpopulation in just 20 years.The drugs, the escalating crime rate and the wilting nationwide economy. It's entirely up to 'THE PEOPLE' in the coming months. Both parties are going to land America with another AMNESTY.

Taxpayers will be paying for both the illegal immigration insurgency and the welfare and profits for the predatory employers. If your really want to know the unrestricted ugly truth not found in the liberal-socialist press. If you want to do something about job loses, your mortgage, your families future. Go to NUMBERSUSA .


Lee on Aug 01, 2008 at 08:02:58 said:

"Aurora Castellanos, an [illegal]immigrant from Mexico ... says ... she believes that if the ordinance is retracted undocumented people will be afraid to walk down the street."

There is no such thing as an "undocumented person." I think the author means "illegal alien." If a person doesn't have documents to prove themselves to be here legally, it is because they are lawbreakers -- illegal aliens -- criminals. And criminals should be afraid to walk down the street.

Anyone who thinks there is something wrong with controlling our borders should take the doors off their home and see who and how many people move in. Very soon, it will become clear why we need to control who enters our nation.


Sam Gregory on Aug 01, 2008 at 06:52:25 said:

Those who have jumped a fence into America in order to avoid our
immigration checks are not immigrants. Rather, they are invading criminals,
with no claim whatsoever to the welcome mat extended to legal immigrants.

Such people do not deserve recognition or sanction by the United States,
and should be rounded up and deported as soon as possible, without
exception.

Another word game played by pro-illegal aliens is to call these miscreants
"undocumented." The implication of this term is that the invaders are
simply missing a piece of paper or two, probably some unnecessary
bureaucratic red tape designed to keep brown people out.

In truth, illegal aliens have invaded our nation, leaving America
vulnerable to undetected crime, terrorism, disease, and financial
devastation at the hands of people with no legal or moral justification for
being here.


FedUp on Jul 31, 2008 at 19:44:23 said:

Gavin, Passing the buck as usual. What's in it for ya? Bottom line, you and your supporters are pigs. I wonder if your outlook on 'safe & sound sanctuary' for your precious parasites, will be the same when they rape, rob, or kill your new wife? Betcha that will be your bottom...What makes you think your family is safe? ;)


nativessayno on Jul 31, 2008 at 13:26:05 said:

I'm sure Renee Saucedo's remarks give great comfort to the widowed Mrs. Bologna.

Blame it on loopholes, Gavin. We all feel so much safer now in California knowing that when an illegal serial offender or a M-13 gang member is menacing any more citizens, hey, ....we are in a "sanctuary".

Accessing local law enforcement for illegals comes first...before citizen's safety and rights now.

A sanctuary for who, and from what???

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