Published April 19, 2005
This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," April 18, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Welcome to a special edition of "Hannity and Colmes." I'm Alan Colmes. Sean reporting live from the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sean, I notice you're dressed a little differently than for New York weather down there tonight.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Yes, it's a little hot down here, Alan.
COLMES: And throughout the show, we're going to take you behind the scenes of the hugely successful Minuteman Project. Some say successful. We'd like to debate that. We'll meet some volunteers and see firsthand how they are tracking down illegal immigrants.
earlier this month, volunteers began gathering in Arizona to participate in the Minutemen Project. They spread out along a 23-mile stretch of desert.
The citizen patrols alert authorities when they see someone cross the border illegally. They claim their reports have led the border patrol to more than 260 illegal immigrants.
Joining us now are two organizers of the Minuteman Project, James Gilchrist and Chris Simcox. Thank you both for being with us tonight.
Jim, the Border Patrol agents are saying that it's not you that's responsible for this but that they sent a number of new border agents on March 30 to the Mexican-United States border and that's why there is a change in the number of people being stopped. What's your reaction?
JAMES GILCHRIST, ORGANIZER, MINUTEMAN PROJECT: Alan — Alan, we're taking credit for the 94 percent decrease in illegal alien apprehensions. If it wasn't for the Minutemen Project, these 1,000 volunteers from all across the country who have come here, the Border Patrol would not have added 534 more agents.
Those 534 more agents are twiddling their thumbs like the rest of us have been doing for the last seven days. There is no more illegal alien invasion in the San Pedro Valley.
HANNITY: What does that mean to you? That there's a 94 percent reduction. By the way, good to see you both here. Thank you.
Chris, we'll start with you. What does that mean? Does that mean that if we put the resources and the time, that if we can control 23 miles of border, that if the government has its inclination, it can control all of the border? Is that your belief?
CHRIS SIMCOX, ORGANIZER, MINUTEMAN PROJECT: That's it. We've created a model that works. A model that border control cannot implement because they don't have the resources to do this. And by the way, those 500 agents are not here yet. They won't be here until September.
HANNITY: They're not here yet?
SIMCOX: They're not here.
HANNITY: I want to ask you. Early on there was talk about who are these people that are going to come here and there was concern by some opponents of yours. I would even argue that there were people waiting for you to fail.
But you set up a rigid standard. You said, you know, if you want to be here, we're going to be humanitarians first. We're going to feed people that are hungry. We're going to offer water to people that are thirsty.
You said there would be no contact. You have not deviated from that rule at all. And you also weeded out some people that maybe had ulterior motives. Tell us how — tell us how that process came into being?
GILCHRIST: Actually, the process came into being through Chris Simcox's model of screening. The only thing I did was add a heavy involvement of law enforcement. The last place someone with sinister motives wants to be is around a bunch of cops. And it worked fine.
HANNITY: There are a lot of cops because I met a lot of them.
HANNITY: And what was the — you did not want people with ulterior motives. You did not want people that — that were not going to be humanitarians first?
SIMCOX: It was clear in our standard operating procedure, Sean, that it was clear from the beginning, you are to come, you are to sit, you are to observe, no contact, and the world is going to be watching, the weight of the responsibility is on your shoulders.
HANNITY: And you knew that right away. You knew one wrong move that the whole group would be tainted.
I want to ask you this, because I spent a lot of time talking to members of your group today. One of the things that I found amazing is there are specific trails right behind me in these mountains back here, that mountain behind us is actually Mexico?
HANNITY: About 2 1/2 miles away. There are specific trails that are followed every single day. There are food drop-off points every single day that are used almost on a regular basis. There is — it's almost institutionalized.
So you have to ask the question, if we almost know the patterns, you guys have discovered the patterns in the last 20 days. Why do you think Border Patrol hasn't discovered the patterns that you guys have picked up on that you guys have been describing to me in detail?
SIMCOX: Well, the Border Patrol do know where these routes are. They just do not have the personnel to watch them continuously 24 hours a day like we've — like we've been doing here for the last 18 days.
We've shown that if you set up static observation posts and space them every quarter to a half a mile and watch these locations, no one comes across. And the two sectors that we chose, that we identified, were two of the most heavily traveled sectors in this — in this county. At this point, the crossings are down to zero in those sectors and down 61 percent in this 23-mile stretch.
COLMES: Jim, I want to follow up on something you said a few moments ago, which is that you said the reason the Border Patrol numbers are there in greater numbers is because of you guys being there.
It was actually Congress approved it and Bush signed it. Some people in Congress say Bush undercut them, and only 200 showed up. A few hundred more are due to come. But this was something done by congressional legislation before the Minutemen Project began.
SIMCOX: Yes, they've being doing that for the last two years. They - - last year they promised us 300 new agents, Alan, and we only got 170. Most of those were implemented in search and rescue missions, especially to the west of here.
This area has been neglected, and the citizens here have had enough. In fact, they're coming out of their homes now, pleading with us not to leave, because for the first time in years, they've been able to sleep through the night, and they have peace and quiet.
COLMES: Jim, I want to ask you, Channel 13 in Tucson is reporting that the Minutemen Project on the Arizona border is expanding, but that project leader Chris Simcox, they're reporting, is — announced changes today amid rumors that he and co-founder Jim Gilchrist, that's the two of you, are not seeing eye-to-eye on the direction of the project. And that Mr. Gilchrist is leaving 10 days early.
Jim, is that true, and why are you leaving 10 days early this week instead of a week and a half from now?
SIMCOX: Alan, I'm not leaving. I'm here till April 30 except for two to three days where we'll be meeting with congressional representatives in Washington. I'll be coming back after that and finishing up the last three days right up through the 30th.
GILCHRIST: There is no distinction between Chris and I other than we have different opinions about the media. That's all.
COLMES: What are your differing opinions?
GILCHRIST: We won't go there.
I like you and he doesn't.
COLMES: Where do you — I'd say that's all about it (ph). Now where do you differ, Chris, on the media? Where do you guys part company?
SIMCOX: I don't think that's something we should be talking about, but Jim and I — there's no need for both of us to be monitoring this situation now. Civil of homeland defense will take over a continuous effort of monitoring the border. Jim is going to take phase two, Minutemen Project phase two and start implementing that on the interior where we're going to be — have Minutemen protesters picketing employers who are hiring illegals and see if we can't make an effort, some impact there.
COLMES: By the way, Chris, U.S. Border Patrol chief in Tucson, Michael Nicely (ph), is going to be with us tomorrow night. He says you are, quote, "Absolutely not equipped to deal with the border environment."
Why do the Border Patrol agencies — the authorities entrusted with enforcing the law make those statements about you?
GILCHRIST: Well, where are his facts? I mean, we're here 18 days. We've not had anything happen to any of the volunteers. Even the grandmothers that have been sitting in lawn chairs seem to be well equipped to deal with the environment.
SIMCOX: I want a piece of this.
COLMES: Dave, go ahead.
GILCHRIST: We did — Alan, we did in 10 days what Michael Nicely could not have done in 10 years. We've sealed this border from April 1 to April 10. The last seven days, we could have been playing cards. Thank you.
HANNITY: OK. Thank you both for being with us. We appreciate it.
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