AP: La Raza Is Civil Rights Group, Minutemen Are Vigilantes

Can the Associated Press distinguish between racial supremacy groups and civil rights groups? Apparently not. AP writer Maria Sudekum Fisher covers the appointment of 73 year old Frances Semler to Kansas City's parks board, which Fisher opposes because Semler is a member of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. As Fisher writes,

But Frances B. Semler's appointment could now cost the city millions of dollars because she is a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a group that advocates vigilante patrolling of the Mexican border and reports illegal immigrants to authorities. Her membership has drawn sharp criticism from the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic advocacy group, and the NAACP. Both groups are threatening to show their displeasure by canceling conventions scheduled to be held in Kansas City. "We see the Minutemen as an extremist group that espouses hate and vigilanteism and some violence," said Janet Murguia, president of NCLR. "A member of such a group, no matter how upstanding in other ways, should have no place representing Kansas City."

Although Fisher herself admits that the Minutemen are merely trying to assist in enforcing the United States laws, no counter argument is provided from anyone associated with the Minutemen except Semler, who is allowed merely to respond that

Semler, who said she will not resign, calls the threats from the civil rights groups "the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard." She said she joined the Minutemen because of the government's failure to enforce immigration laws. Minutemen members "sit on lawn chairs with binoculars and a can of Coke or something and watch to see if anyone is coming across" the border, Semler said. "I'm not even sure if they're armed, but there might be cases if a person has a legal right to carry a gun."

So Fisher refers to La Raza - an organization that promotes the advancement of one race over another- as a civil rights group, but allows La Raza to frame the Minutemen as an 'extremist group'. Since Fisher apparently cannot be bothered to perform any real research, I shall assist her. La Raza is a Spanish word meaning 'The Race'. The National Council of La Raza is a racially-based organization designed to assist and promote Latino interests. It is opposed to all efforts by the United States to enforce it's own immigration laws, and often files legal challenges when communities attempt to evict the illegal aliens in their midst. As the NCLR says on its web site,

NCLR supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes the following principles: 1) a path to citizenship for the current undocumented population; 2) the creation of new legal channels for future immigrant workers; 3) a reduction of family immigration backlogs; and 4) the protection of civil rights and civil liberties. By legalizing immigrants who live, work, and contribute to life in the U.S., the U.S. could deal fairly with hardworking people who have responded to an economic reality ignored by the law. At the same time, the U.S. can become more secure by enforcing the new law and by allowing undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and participate fully in their communities.

NCLR also espouses drivers licenses for illegal immigrats and in general is an organization designed to assist illegals in any way possible. By contrast the Minutemen are an organization set up to assist in enforcing U.S. law. As their website mission statement says,

To see the borders and coastal boundaries of the United States secured against the unlawful and unauthorized entry of all individuals, contraband, and foreign military. We will employ all means of civil protest, demonstration, and political lobbying to accomplish this goal.

Minutemen often patrol the border to keep watch for illegal crossings, but as they state on their website,

"Supported by a new and expanded national support team, The Minuteman Corps will observe and report suspected illegal border crossings to the proper authorities. As always, they will maintain a "no contact" policy with the humanitarian exception of providing emergency water to those illegal aliens found in distress in the wilderness.

So let's recap- an organization that promotes enforcing existing law and tries to secure our borders using civil protest, lobbying and demonstration and which works closely with law enforcement versus an organization that wants all current illegals to be made citizens, opposes border enforcement, opposes allowing cities and towns to determine if illegals are good for them. Yet Fisher allows La Raza to call the Minutement extreme, while not allowing any response, save a vague comment from Semler. Either Fisher is completely naive, or she is pushing an agenda. Based on her article, I would have to say the latter. Hat tip to NewsBusters reader Rick Sander. Cross-posted on StoneHeads.