Minuteman Project Founder Endorses Mike Huckabee

Minuteman Project Jim Gilchrist on Tuesday endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Noting that he might not agree 100 percent on immigration with Huckabee, the firebrand illegal immigration opponent said Huckabee's recently released immigration plan won him over.

"The governor has a plan and I appreciate his plan. That's why I'm supporting him. He's one of the few who's actually brought forth a plan and gone public with it. It shows to me that he's willing to engage in the tough love necessary to fix this problem," Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist, whose organization is separate from the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, has drawn protests in appearances at college campuses in recent months for his views on strict illegal immigration laws. Unlike the MCDC, whose primary role is to park volunteers along the U.S.-Mexico border to report jumpers to Border Patrol agents, the Minuteman Project calls attention to enforcement of state and federal laws relating to immigration.

Huckabee last week announced a get-tough immigration plan, proposing to construct a border fence with surveillance cameras by July 1, 2010, calling for an increase to the number of Border Patrol agents and imposing steep penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Huckabee's plan also calls for a zero-tolerance policy toward amnesty and states that all illegal immigrants would have a 120-day window to register and leave the country. Under the proposal, those who register and leave will face no penalty, while those who do not, if caught, will be barred from the United States for 10 years.

The approach is a seeming reversal for Huckabee, who has been criticized for actions he took as Arkansas governor, including his support for tuition breaks for children of undocumented immigrants and $1,000 in government assistance to children whose illegal parents were arrested, and his denunciation of a 2005 raid on illegal immigrants at a poultry plant.