July 26, 2006
Immigration protesters scuffle in New York
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Immigration activists clashed at the
site of the World Trade Center on Wednesday when an
anti-illegal immigration group called for secure borders to
avoid a repeat of the September 11 attacks and
counterprotesters yelled "racists go home."
Members of the Minuteman Project, which patrols the
U.S.-Mexican border for illegal immigrants, pushed and shoved
members of an immigrant rights group that showed up at the
Jim Gilchrist and Jerome Corsi, authors of "Minutemen: The
Battle to Secure America's Borders," were whisked away when
some immigrant rights supporters broke through a police barrier
and scuffled with Minutemen supporters.
Corsi, who also wrote a book critical of Sen. John Kerry's
2004 presidential campaign, accused President Bush of leaving
U.S. borders wide open.
"When the World Trade Center was attacked, we saw a failure
of the Bush administration to protect our borders and to
enforce our immigration laws. This tragedy could be repeated,"
Gilchrist and Corsi said they held their event at Ground
Zero to dedicate their book to the families of the September 11
About 50 immigrant rights advocates waved placards reading,
"New York is an immigrant town -- Minuteman not welcome," while
about 30 anti-illegal immigration protesters held banners that
said, "Stop the invasion" and "U.S. jobs for U.S. citizens."
Polls show immigration reform is an important issue to many
Americans, but negotiations over immigration reform have
stalled in the U.S. Congress. The House of Representatives and
the Senate have passed vastly different bills and it is
increasingly unlikely the two sides will bridge differences
ahead of the November congressional elections.
Senate legislation would give the estimated 12 million
illegal immigrants a chance to earn U.S. citizenship, while the
House bill that would criminalize illegal presence.
Stephen Durham, 58, was one of 50 activists who protested
the Minutemen's appearance in New York.
"I'm really appalled that (the Minuteman Project) would use
9/11 to publicize a plan (to secure U.S. borders) which is
fundamentally so unconstitutional and un-American," he said.
"We are all immigrants. Immigrant labor built America."