By Jennifer Abel
Jim Gilchrist, leader of the anti-illegal immigration Minuteman Project
, was the dinnertime Keynote Speaker at the CT Liberty Forum
held in Bristol, Connecticut on Saturday night.
Gilchrist’s speech described the threat he believes illegal immigrants (whom he calls “illegal aliens”) pose to America, claiming that by 2025 illegal immigrants will outnumber “citizen voters” and ultimately cause America to become “a second Russia” that breaks apart into separate nations based on ethnicity or religion. He later cited “print journalism” as one of the two “worst threat[s] from free speech,” and print journalists as being “worse than a corrupt drug-dealing cop, worse than a bribe-taking politician, worse than a pedophile teacher.”
He did, however, make an exception in the case of this reporter.
Gilchrist founded the Minuteman Project in 2004, after “years of frustrated efforts trying to get a neglectful U.S. government to simply enforce existing immigration laws,” as he says in his biography
The group’s motto is “Operating within the law to support enforcement of the law,” specifically the law against illegal immigration to America. To this end, the group leads patrols along the Arizona/Mexican border. Detractors have accused Gilchrist and the Minutemen of racist intent, though Gilchrist makes a point of calling the group “multi-ethnic” and says he has no problem with immigrants who come here legally and assimilate into American society.
At the Liberty Forum, Gilchrist said “I see a threat to our native history, culture, language … as I speak right now, in my opinion, there are at least 30 million illegal aliens … in the United States.” Gilchrist said the statistic came from a 2004 Bear Stearns report
(which actually gives the number as 20 million; he may have misspoke.)
Gilchrist dismissed claims that illegals are here to do farm work and other jobs not wanted by Americans. “They are not here to pick our strawberries. They are here to pick our pockets.” And he painted a bleak portrait of the future he foresees if illegal immigration is not stopped: Mexican drug cartels will make enough money to “buy our infrastructure,” American “heritage, culture and language” will be degraded, and the country will experience a Soviet-style breakup which Gilchrist says is beginning already.
The “Southwest will be the new Mexico,” Gilchrist said. “Detroit will be the new Islam.” There are already “foreign enclaves” in almost every American city, consisting of people who will not learn English and “will not pledge allegiance to the American flag.”
Despite this, Gilchrist said he does not expect America to descend into an 1860s-style Civil War, due to the differences between modern Americans and antebellum Southerners. Modern Americans have homes, televisions, plenty to eat and families they care about, thus making them unlikely to start a war.
By contrast, old Southerners (with the exception of wealthy plantation owners) had no such attachments. “They had nothing, they owned nothing, so why not go to war?”
Instead of Civil War Two, Gilchrist predicted a country becoming more like Mexico with, as he said, two percent of the population controlling 98 percent of the wealth. (There was no indication he meant this as an allusion to the recent $700 billion Wall Street bailout proposal.
Gilchrist again mentioned his concern over immigrant drug smugglers and dealers, whom he blames for modern rates of illegal drug use in America. He mentioned his own high school days before the modern immigrant influx: he recalled hearing occasional talk of “reefers” but otherwise, “no one did drugs in high school … no one did drugs in 1967.”
With anywhere from one million to ten million arriving in America each year, Gilchrist said, “We have about 17 years before there are more illegal aliens occupying U.S. territory then there are citizen voters.” Upon reaching this demographic tipping point, Gilchrist predicts that illegals will demand and receive the right to vote, at which point they will enjoy “dual voting rights” in America and their home countries, and vote against America’s interests.
“Five million troops [enter America] per year,” Gilchrist said. “I use the word troops because this is an invasion, ladies and gentlemen … that’s more than the aggregate amount of [personnel in all branches of] the [American] military.”
After continuing in this vein for awhile, Gilchrist reiterated that he and the Minutemen “are not against immigrants. We do not hate immigrants … we will always need immigrants to continue as a flourishing, prosperous nation, but they have to be the immigrants we want.”
Gilchrist wants immigrants allowed in based on their work skills and “integrity and character.” Also, they “must be assimilated … a Mexican, a Vietnamese or an Islamic – they have to become American.”
Eventually Gilchrist segued into a discussion of other threats facing America. “There are limits today to how far you can go with your civil rights” granted by the Founding Fathers. The worst threat from* free speech comes from two sources: the education industry and print journalism.”
Gilchrist spoke mostly of the threat posed by the latter group. “I can’t think of many print journalists in the mainstream media I don’t despise … I think they have a God complex … they’re worse than a corrupt drug-dealing cop. Worse than a bribe-taking politician. Worse than pedophile teachers … they destroy your credibility.” That is why “I get most of my news from talk radio.”
This reporter sat at a table with other forum speakers and organizers, all of whom started laughing. One of them pointed to this reporter and called out “She’s
a journalist!”, and Gilchrist replied “That’s different. She’s freelance.” (In the program directory, the reporter described herself
as a “freelance journalist” because she thought it sounded better than “unemployed journalist who’d jump on a media job with both feet if anybody offered her one.”)
*Note: A forum videographer made a recording of this speech; if it ever goes online I’ll link to it here. I will also watch it again to see if I somehow, some way, made a mistake whilst scribbling my notes during the speech, and wrote “from” when Gilchrist actually said “to.”