Jim Gilchrist, one of the founders of the Minutemen Project militia group announced plans to recruit at least 3,500 “non-member volunteers” to take part in a May 1, 2015 anti-immigration effort along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Southern Poverty Legal Center (SPLC) reported.
Gilchrist said on the group’s website that “Operation Normandy,” as he called it, needed that many volunteers to successfully cover the “porous areas” between San Diego, California and Brownsville, Texas.
“If you are familiar with the Normandy invasion of France in 1944, then you have an idea how large and logistically complicated this event will be,” Gilchrist said. “However, there is one difference. We are not going to the border to invade anyone. We are going there to stop an invasion.”
The use of the word “invasion” echoes a recent conservative talking point depicting the thousands of immigrants, most of them children, coming to the U.S. from Central American countries. Gilchrist’s post also said that the only rule for participating is, “Whatever you do, stay within the rule of law.”
“You do not put a hand on anyone, you do not talk to anyone, you do not confront anyone,” he told KPHO-TV earlier this month. “You report to Border Patrol.”
Gilchrist also said the volunteers will not be recognized as Minutemen members, but rather as “individual citizens.”
The SPLC noted that, though the group gained momentum in conservative circles after launching in 2005, it came undone due to leadership squabbles and criminal charges against two of Gilchrist’s associates, co-founder Chris Simcox and one of the group’s top figures, Shawna Forde.
Forde was convicted of first-degree murder in 2011 and sentenced to death for killing Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, at their Arizona home. Prosecutors said Forde orchestrated the invasion of Flores’ home to rob him of drug-related money she believed he had in order to fund her group, Minutemen American Defense. The state Supreme Court rejected her appeal of the sentence this past January.
For his part, Simcox is scheduled to go to trial in September on charges of molesting three girls under the age of 10.
Watch a report on “Operation Normandy,” as posted by the SPLC on Monday, below.
[Image via Minuteman Project News Facebook page]