The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Huckabee Picks Up Minuteman Founder Endorsement

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- Mike Huckabee, under fire for some of his immigration stands while governor of Arkansas, picked up an endorsement in Council Bluffs, Iowa, from the ultimate illegal immigration opponent: Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, the group that has roamed the border for the last several years operating effectively as an independent border patrol.

President Bush called the group "vigilantes" two years ago. But Huckabee seemed eager to announce the endorsement, as it came on a day when former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney started running an ad that slams Huckabee for backing a provision that would have allowed the children of illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition in Arkansas.

"Frankly, Jim I've got to tell you there were times in the early days of the Minutemen I thought what are these guys doing, what are they about," Huckabee said. "I confess I owe you an apology." He said of Gilchrist, "nobody can question his commitment to his country."

Gilchrist, an ally of the candidate who has been most anti-illegal immigration in the GOP field, Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, said his endorsement of Huckabee stemmed from the former governor's recent statements on the issue, particularly a plan that Huckabee put out last week that would require illegal immigrants country in the country to go to their country of origin before trying to return. The plan also would build a border fence and increase fines on employers who hire illegal immigrants, similar to proposals offered by some of Huckabee's opponents in the GOP nomination process.

"It was a plan I myself could have written," said Gilchrist, who noted the Huckabee campaign reviewed the proposal with him before it was released.

To say Huckabee and Gilchrist have different tones on how they speak about immigration is an understatement; Gilchrist has used the term "invasion" to describe the increase in illegal immigrants in the country, Huckabee tried to reduce the college bills of their kids, a plan he still defends while proposing nothing of the kind nationally.

But illegal immigration has become to the GOP nomination process what health care is for the Democrats, an issue every candidate must speak about and present a detailed plan for how they would tackle the challenge if elected president. Huckabee yesterday started running an ad saying he would stop illegal immigrants from crossing the border just as Romney dialed up his anti-Huckabee rhetoric on the issue.

Polls in the early states have shown immigration is on the minds of voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, even though they are not border states. Both Republican and Democratic candidates find themselves constantly asked about the issue.

Republican crowds in particular like the sort of rhetoric Huckabee has adopted on immigration, focusing on making sure illegal immigrants don't enter the country. But the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, a group that supports legislation that would create a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already here, called Huckabee's plan "reckless, desperate and irresponsible policy" in a statement.

--Perry Bacon Jr.

Posted at 12:26 PM ET on Dec 11, 2007
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in | Digg This
Previous: Biden on Air in Iowa | Next: The Ice Storm

Add 44 to Your Site
Be the first to know when there's a new installment of The Trail. This widget is easy to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry on The Trail.
Get This Widget >>


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Dear DrColes (regarding your Dec 11, 2007), criminals DID build America. Some examples were prison chain gangs, slaves owners (crimes against humanity), and in the very early years of the country the builders were criminals deported from other countries. These days the criminals who hire illegal aliens help build the economy of the nation. Sure they break the law and degrade the human condition but they DO build the economy.

The other item is, illegal aliens in America DO have rights and the international courts have said that for years. Just because our laws say that we can arrest and prosecute does NOT mean they are without rights. (Unless your rational parallels that of GWB.)

Posted by: WayZGas222222 | January 10, 2008 7:16 PM

Jim Gilchrest ranks high on my list of patriotic men who put country first. Willing to be called a racist when he is not, willing to be called a vigilante for volunteering to lead a movement to defend the law.

Huckabee now gets my vote and will recieve the endorsment of my website and foundation this week.

-The World Famous Fence Wizard

Posted by: fencewizard | December 29, 2007 1:11 PM

Whether your an Hispanic, German, Korean or from Indian, you should want to enforce our laws of U.S. sovereignty? This is not about Republican, Democrat or Independent affiliation hierarchy? You have been given permission by the American people to enter these shores; not the elected public servants, but by THE PEOPLE! This wonderful privilege should not be taken for granted and you should strongly desire, as a new citizen or permanent resident to by abide by the rules of THE PEOPLE. Why is their any argument regarding this matter in the first place? Are you here to become part of American society, or have you come here to demand rights for people who intentionally broke our immigration laws? What gives foreign nationals of any country have the right to demand that the U.S. majority, give them amnesty; a path to citizenship? To jump ahead millions of honest, sincere people who jump through the hoops of immigration laws to get in line! You as new American, a new citizen who came from South of the border, should cherish and respect our Representative Democracy. Join other New Hispanic Americans to attain the American dream, like millions of others, who have a chance like any other nationality to obtain a better life for yourself and family? This is about respecting the laws of the Constitution, not the will of anti-American radicals. If you do not respect our laws, then you should be repatriated or deported. Americans of every race welcome newcomers, when they strive to achieve a partnership with our language, flag and the great culture. This is a country of laws and like any other citizen within the jurisdiction of this land, you must commit yourself to enforce those laws? Coercing with illegal individuals is dividing your relationship you have with other legally appointed people of your own birthplace. When you walk with illegal aliens you are committing an offense against ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS. Flying foreign flags in demonstrations is a paramount indignity and illustrates the contempt of illegal immigrants and those legal citizens who protest with them. Voicing your opinion is your right, but joining the tyranny of zealots is not embracing any unity for the common cause! I came to these shores, legally! Not as a British--hyphenated--American, but as a ordinary citizen! I am a loyal citizen, not of dual nationality like many are held to by their government of origin. There is a potential on the horizon of the same tribulations that is materializing in Europe. Mass immigration unimpeded, is a corporate --globalist, open border agenda to recruit cheap labor to undermine the monetary security of legal workers. France is a good example of out-of-control immigration chaos, followed closely by the United Kingdom. The European news is intentionally suppressed, that signifies the brewing trouble in the EU unity of nations. If this country called America does not stand together, we will fall into a abyss of racial turmoil.

Posted by: infinity555 | December 13, 2007 3:34 PM

Vote for who proves he understands amnesty is wrong and the damage it is causing our country;

Posted by: Winghunter | December 12, 2007 9:31 PM

For anyone that might be interested, like someone who said 'criminals did not build America,' the US didn't even have a comprehensive immigration policy prior to the 1920's or so. Meaning that anyone that could make it here got in, period. And when we did institute immigraiton policy of some kind, it was generaly to keep out specific ethnic religious groups.

So keep this in mind when you claim 'criminals didn't build America' because at the time, they didn't have to.

Americas immigration policy prior to the 20th centurey is not something that I personaly am overly proud of. Many aspects were downright shamefull. Yet people hold these up as some kind of ideal to what we should work towards now.

Posted by: opus512 | December 12, 2007 4:38 PM

I am a Minuteman and I am shocked at Gilchrist for endorsing an illegal alien- lover like Huckabee. HE DOES NOT SPEAK FOR ME!!! READ THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE:
"Huckabee promotes 'open door' policy at LULAC convention"
Thursday, Jun 30, 2005

By Wesley Brown
Arkansas News Bureau
LITTLE ROCK - In a impassioned speech before hundreds of influential Hispanic civil rights leaders from across the nation, Gov. Mike Huckabee told a captive audience Wednesday that America is great because it has always opened it doors up to people seeking a better way of life.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, Huckabee said, citing the Golden Rule. I have tried to govern that way and it stands to reason that I really do believe that what made this great country so great and so unique is that it has always been a place for people to run to - and not run from.

I would hope that no matter who we are, or where we are from, that America should always be a place that opens its arms, opens it heart, opens its spirit to people who come because they want the best for their families ..., Huckabee said as the largely Hispanic audience gave him a standing ovation.

Huckabee was the keynote speaker, along with Tyson Foods Inc. Chairman and CEO John Tyson, at a noon luncheon of the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is holding its 76th annual convention in Little Rock.

About 10,000 political, community and business leaders, along with exhibitors and speakers are in Little Rock attending the convention at the Statehouse Convention Center. The convention started Monday and runs through Saturday.

Although he never actually talked about the U.S. or Arkansas immigration policy, Huckabee made it very clear where he stood on the issue. In his opening remarks, he said the nation will need to address the concerns of the Hispanic community because of its growing influence and population base.

Pretty soon, Southern white guys like me may be in the minority, Huckabee said jokingly as the crowd roared in laughter.

He told the LULAC delegates that their presence in the state's capital city was very important because Arkansas has one of the fastest growing Hispanic populations in the nation.

Your gathering is so very significant for our state, Huckabee said. We are delighted to have you.

Despite several light moments, Huckabee did not stray away from several controversial issues that made him a target of criticism during the recently ended 85th General Assembly. He said Arkansas needs to make the transition from a traditional Southern state to one that recognizes and cherishes diversity in culture, in language and in population.

This is an issue that is going to require extraordinary efforts on both sides of the border, particularly those coming from Mexico, Huckabee said of verifying the status of illegal aliens. But I am confident that our government will recognize that we should accommodate people who wish to provide the best opportunities for their families (and) employers so that we can make sure our economy has the necessary work force.
During the legislation session, Huckabee criticized an immigration bill by Republican senators Jim Holt of Springdale and Denny Altes of Fort Smith as un-Christian, un-American, irresponsible and anti-life.

Senate Bill 206, which died in the Senate, would have required proof of citizenship to register to vote and also force state agencies to report suspected cases of people living in the country illegally. Holt, R-Springdale, replied later to Huckabee's comments that Christian charity does not include turning a blind eye to lawbreaking.

The Republican governor, who many believe will run for president in 2008, also backed legislation that would have opened the door for illegal immigrants in Arkansas to receive college scholarships.

House Bill 1525 by Rep. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, was approved by the House but eventually failed in the Senate. Huckabee reiterated Wednesday that he believes every child, regardless of their parent's immigration status, should have an opportunity to receive an education in the U.S.

I ... believe that an education for every child is the most important single factor to give everyone to be their very best, he said.

In one humorous moment, Huckabee sounded very much like a presidential candidate when he recalled his educational upbringing in Hope and reminded the crowd that another famous Arkansas governor and former president grew up in the small southwest Arkansas town.

I too still believe in a place call Hope, Huckabee said, mimicking former President Clinton's famous acceptance speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

Before Huckabee spoke, John Tyson thanked the Hispanic community for standing by the Springdale-based food giant during the federal government's investigation of the company a few years ago. The U.S. Justice Department investigation alleged that Tyson helped to smuggle illegal aliens into the U.S. and employed them at various chicken-processing plants across the Southeast.

After a seven-week trial, Tyson and several managers of poultry processing plants were acquitted in March 2003 of those charges.

At the time, it was a very difficult and very tough time for our company, Tyson said. Thank you LULAC for standing by us.

Tyson also credited LULAC leaders for pushing the company to add Hispanics to the Tyson board and promote more Latinos to upper management and executive positions.

He also said in that last 15 years, the number of Hispanics that work for the Arkansas company has increased significantly.

I am proud to tell you that more than 40,000 of our workers are Latinos, Tyson said of the company's 114,000 employees. We are learning, growing and benefiting from that diversity.


Posted by: gl30505 | December 12, 2007 1:17 PM

I hate the term flip-flop .... but, all of a sudden I, too, heard Huckabee specifying in a light way - illegal aliens that have to leave can come back maybe in a day or a week - not what I heard last week from him. It's not what I thought he was about.
I've been weighing Romney and Thompson too on this extremely important election for the continuance of our country, support of our national identity and our workers, our citizens and to ensure our taxpayer dollars aren't gifted to those who are lawbreakers for any reason. And Calderon and his ACLU, LaRaza, Chamber of Commerce/lobby can just know - stick and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me. So when you call American citizens names it doesn't mean tiddlywinks - we're not stupid! It's a money issue for monied groups! I hope Calderon shows his face in America in February, maybe it will give Americans of Spanish/Mexican heritage a big push to join You Don't Speak for Me or some such group! Yes - Americans.

Posted by: dbtessbrad | December 12, 2007 2:20 AM

"But illegal immigration has become to the GOP nomination process what health care is for the Democrats, an issue every candidate must speak about and present a detailed plan for how they would tackle the challenge if elected president."

A succinct illustration of the collapse of modern "conservatism".

Posted by: zukermand | December 11, 2007 11:08 PM

No National Minuteman Group has endorsed Mike Huckabee.

One individual Minuteman has personally endorsed him.

For the sake of clarity, it is important to note that the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), the nation's largest Minuteman organization, is a 501(C)4 non-profit organization and cannot and does not endorse any candidate for public office. MCDC is not associated with Mr. Jim Gilchrist, who today endorsed Mike Huckabee for president.

Jim Gilchrist's erstwhile Minuteman Project is itself an organization which by its own representations as a non-profit civic group, cannot legally endorse candidates. It does not have any volunteers who observe illegal border activity. It has no border fence building projects. Jim Gilchrist here speaks only for Jim Gilchrist, he does not speak for the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, nor is he nationally representative of most patriots in the "Minuteman movement" - who under no circumstances could ignore the failed record nor endorse the duplicitous "plan" recently rolled out by candidate Mike Huckabee. The national media needs to recognize that Jim Gilchrist's endorsement is his own personal statement, nothing more.

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps emphasizes policy dealing with national border security. The only "plan" to ensure border security that is acceptable to our constituency would be a candidate policy statement declaring that his first act as President will be to hold a press conference and announce to the American people an executive order to immediately deploy and fund 30,000 National Guard personnel to the U.S. Borders (25,000 to the southern border and 5,000 to the northern border) to complement a massive increase in U.S. Border Patrol Agent field personnel, and a bilateral effort to secure our frontiers, smash the drug cartels, shut down the human smugglers and protect the public safety of the citizens who reside along the borders on both sides of our national boundaries.

Unlike this last-minute opportunism attempted by Huckabee, many of the other GOP presidential candidates have actually helped push the issue of national border security forward for some time. Tom Tancredo's many years of hard work on the border crisis and illegal immigration issues have all the candidates striving to sound like him. Duncan Hunter can take personal credit for getting the highly effective San Diego border fence built. Ron Paul has been to the border with us first hand and aggressively pushed positive border legislation. Alan Keyes has done more than anyone to support the organizational development of MCDC, and personally participated in the Minuteman Border Fence Groundbreaking - advancing a citizen's construction effort which has forced Congress to finally get the Feds building physical border fence.

Only one Minuteman group is conducting regular multi-state border security efforts, building fence and aggressively monitoring Washington DC: Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. We would like to extend an invitation to all the presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat, to come to the border and see what is really happening on our nation's frontier. Not to take the safe little government photo-op helicopter ride, but see the lay-up sites full of trash and debris. See the rape trees. See the violent crime in the border towns. Walk on the pathways of destroyed environmental terrain trampled by tens of thousands of invading foreign migrants. See what the American elites' support of broken borders, unfettered illegal immigration and sanctuary cities is doing to our fellow Americans who live on our borderlands, and how these failed policies imperil our nation's safety, security and prosperity.

Chris Simcox
Minuteman Civil Defense Corps

Posted by: tootough | December 11, 2007 10:01 PM

For those of you that like to critize and take easy cheap shots at other people instead of looking for positive things to bring the nation up, you should first take the log out of your eye before trying to take the stick out of others.

Americans want to experience positive change, they do not want to listen to mean spirited comments that only create division in America not unity. Those who critize are only running on ice, spining their wheels like a locomotive, but not going anywhere. It's time to hang up those old shoes of critism, and change to the positive, optimistic shoes that will bring happiness to all Americans.

Mike Huckabee is authentic, trustworthy, caring and humble. That's why his poll numbers are skyrocketing up at supersonic speeds. THE HUCKABOOM!!!!!!

NASA we have lift off, "One small step for Mike Huckabee and one giant leap for America."

Posted by: vote4mikehuckabee | December 11, 2007 7:23 PM

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a 501(C)4 non-profit organization is the nation's largest Minuteman organization and cannot and does not endorse any candidate for public office.

Jim Gilchrist, who has finally admitted that he does not have have any volunteers who observe illegal border activity, does not speak for the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, nor is he a national spokesperson for any "Minuteman organization" -Jim Gilchrist speaks for Jim Gilchrist and the national media needs to know that once and for all.

This seems like an act of desperation on the parts of both men to draw national media. Gilchrist will do anything to draw attention to himself and has been lying to the media and the American people about his volunteer efforts on the borders -truth is he has no organization and was unwise to endorse any candidate, especially one who has such a terrible record on addressing illegal immigration and will never follow through on his "plan".

Posted by: tootough | December 11, 2007 5:44 PM

Criminals did NOT build America; Citizens and LEGAL immigrants built it. Illegal Aliens and Immigration is NOT the same thing. 80% of the American people want an end to anarchy! This is NOT a Democrat, Republican, Independent issue. It's an American Issue.

Illegal aliens are criminals, those who hire them are criminals and those who aid-and-abet them are criminals.

Illegal aliens in America have NO rights. We are required by law to arrest and prosecute, deport them. (Title 8 U.S. Code) To report illegal aliens call the DHS National Hotline 1 866 DHS 2ICE. (1-866-347-2523)

No, matter your political party affiliation, and setting aside your thoughts on issues. We all need to remember what it is to be an American Citizen. We need to make sure our elected representatives obey their Oath of Office and keep their Oath of Allegiance. See Know whom you are voting for.

Posted by: DrColes | December 11, 2007 4:32 PM

Anyone interested in what Huckabee is really like face to face should try this funny (but it actually happened) column:

Posted by: lanefiller | December 11, 2007 3:27 PM

American voters are starting to realize why Arkansans (Republicans and Democrats alike) elected Mike Huckabee to be their Governor.

If you believe in Mike Huckabee's message, I urge you to take my challenge and visit:

With your help, he will make a difference!

Posted by: WakeUpCall | December 11, 2007 3:24 PM

"Is the endorsement of Jim Gilchrist founder of Minuteman Project worth while flaunting?"

To win the GOP nomination, its worth flaunting. In the general, it could hurt with the Hispanic vote that GWB worked so hard to win. Perhaps at this stage of the game, a bird in the hand is more valuable.

Posted by: bsimon | December 11, 2007 3:16 PM

Is the endorsement of Jim Gilchrist founder of Minuteman Project worth while flaunting?


Posted by: jeffboste | December 11, 2007 2:29 PM

I'd certainly like to think that Gilchrist has simply been taken in by The Huckster. Because, after releasing his plan he indicated that those who leave could come back within "days, maybe weeks":

Perhaps the WaPo would like to do some real reporting on this issue and get some actual numbers. Everyone: please do NOT hold your breath.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | December 11, 2007 1:58 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company