When Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) declared a state of emergency In August for New Mexico over illegal immigration it was assumed that he would be ensuring the earmarked $1 million in funds to border counties would be used to shore up the border and stop the flow of illegal aliens into his state. It has been discovered however that some of the funds are going to actually monitor the volunteer group the Minuteman Project. The Minuteman Project is in the midst of a month-long volunteer monitoring of New Mexico's southern border.
Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) has now called for Richardson to use the funds as intended and stop wasting them on monitoring a volunteer group trying to assist in the emergency situation. Here is a letter Tancredo sent to Richardson over the issue.
Dear Governor Richardson:
I have noted with great interest your recent statements and administrative actions in New Mexico to combat illegal immigration. I was encouraged by your declaration of emergency along New Mexico’s southern border. As with many potential presidential candidates from both your party and my own, you realize the politics of immigration reform: Americans support strong border security but Washington has failed to deliver.
However, your actions must match your rhetoric. While I am glad that you recognize that border security is a popular political issue, I have been discouraged by your record. I have wondered whether your own actions since 2003 as Governor have led to the very border emergency that you declared in August. You granted drivers licenses—the most commonly used identification—to illegal aliens, and you even approved scholarships for children of illegals. Providing such opportunities encourages the very illegal immigration that has created New Mexico’s state of emergency.
Given your new rhetoric on border security and your emergency declaration, I had hoped that you might actually change the way you govern your state. But, after the cameras left and the satellite trucks drove away, it appears to be business as usual for your administration.
I was disappointed to read this morning that at least part of your much-heralded $1 million grant for border security is being used to keep tabs on the Minuteman Project. The Las Cruces Sun News reported:
[The Doña Ana County sheriff] department will assign three patrol units along the border 24 hours a day, seven days a week to watch for any problems, whether they’re caused by immigrants, civilian border watchers or groups monitoring the watchers. “We’re just going to be patrolling the border for any kinds of problems at all,” [Sheriff Todd Garrison] said. “We’re going to be enforcing county ordinances and state statutes.”
That your so-called “emergency grants” would fund monitoring of volunteer citizens who aid the federal government’s Border Patrol is unconscionable. The Minuteman Project reduced illegal immigration in Arizona this March, without a single reported violent incident or crime committed by the volunteers. If you intend to prevent your border security rhetoric from becoming a blatant political ploy, I encourage you to direct state funding in your command to combating illegal immigration, not obstructing volunteers who want to help.
Member of Congress
Emphasis above is mine.
You can visit Tom Tancredo Congressional Webpage.