The Director of the Illinois Minuteman Project Rosanna Pulido told me “There are more illegals in Illinois than there are in California.” That immediately got my attention. The below interview examines the successes and challenges faced by the Illinois MMP.
Sher: “Rosanna, you were one of the original members of the Minuteman Project. Can you give us some background as to how and why you became involved in the MMP?”
Rosanna: “I guess I read one article too many and started to become concerned! I HEARD ABOUT THE April 2005 border watch and I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do as an American, so I went down!”
Sher: “You said that there are more illegal aliens in Illinois that there are in California. That was a shocker to me. How did you elicit this information?”
Rosanna: “We got that info from a meeting that was sponsored by us and Susan Tully the National Director of FAIR was our speaker, she told us this information, we were a little shocked but, knew that Illinois is a targeted state to dump illegal aliens.”
Sher: “Currently, Detroit is a ‘sanctuary city’ for illegals. How has this hampered law enforcement’s ability to capture and prosecute illegal alien criminals?”
Rosanna: “If someone from Al-Qaeda is here in Chicago and stopped on a traffic violation, our officers are unable to ask them their immigration status. I talked to a Sun times Reporter 3 weeks ago who was doing an investigative story on illegal aliens who commit heinous crimes in other countries and come to Chicago and live with their families who are hiding them—because they know it is a safe haven. (firstname.lastname@example.org this is the reporters e-mail).”
Sher: “You said that law enforcement officers in Illinois are being sent to Mexico for ‘sensitivity training’. This seems bizarre and, quite frankly, I find it incredulous. Would you explain the program, how it began and who started it?”
Rosanna: “[From] ‘Police exchange men and ideas with Mexico department’ by Jeanne Hovanec Staff Writer: Carpentersville - Stop signs in Mexico look a lot like they do around here. But unlike in America, where stopping is mandatory, Mexicans look at the sign as an option to stop, explains police Officer Manny Figueroa. It's a small cultural difference but one Figueroa and other members of his delegation took home with them in the five days they spent in Zacatecas, Mexico and Police exchange program offers valuable education: Belvidere and Boone County law enforcement personnel have an extraordinary opportunity to improve policing through an exchange program with a friendly city in Mexico. Local Hispanic business owners are eager to help. In fact, in McHenry County, local business owners and Hispanic groups footed most of the bill for a model program. The business people have paid for police officers from Zacatecas, Mexico, to spend time here observing how police agencies operate. In addition, the business owners have paid for McHenry County officers to travel to Zacatecas to see how policing is done there.
"They now approach our Latino community with much more compassion and understanding," McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren said about the officers who participated. The understanding is important, but so is getting new immigrants up to speed on laws of this land that may differ from back home.
"We need to educate our people to respect and follow the laws in this country," said Javier Lara, an advocate for Hispanic residents of Boone County. Among the differences on opposite sides of the border:
“• In Mexico, it is not illegal for drivers to roll through stop signs if there is no traffic at or near the intersections. Police officers hand out tickets for that here.
• It is customary for Mexicans to avoid eye contact with officers as a show of respect and humility. It is not necessarily an indication that they are hiding something, as some American officers might suspect.
“The goal is to enhance understanding among local police so that they are more effective in both helping and policing the local Mexican immigrant population, which is growing at a rapid rate.
“In Boone County, the Hispanic population made up 6.8 percent of the county's total population in 1990. The percentage had almost doubled to 12.4 percent in the year 2000, according to U.S. Census data. In real numbers, the Boone County Hispanic population grew from 2,065 in the 1990 Census to 5,219 in the 2000 Census, a jump of almost 153 percent.
“Northern Illinois University's Center for Governmental Studies estimates that Hispanics will make up 16 percent of Boone County's population by 2015.
“Belvidere Police Chief Jan Noble hopes to go to Zacatecas next year to observe how police operate there. He will ask the City Council for money to help pay for the trip, which would be partially funded by Belvidere and Boone County Hispanic businesses and advocacy groups. Boone County Sheriff Duane Wirth is interested in the program but, he said, the county is strapped for funds and may not be able to afford it.
“Given the boom in the Hispanic population and the remarkable cooperation from the Hispanic business community, this program looks too good -- and too useful -- to pass up.”
Sher: “I understand that Chicago has stopped the deportation of Mexican criminals back to Mexico, until Governor Rod Blagojevich decides what he wants to do with them. Isn’t deportation of foreign nationals, especially criminals, mandatory? What’s going on, here?”
Rosanna: “Not quite. That’s what the march is about. They want a stop of raids and deportations. They say it splits families. What about the American Families who have been separated FOREVER at the hands of illegal aliens who killed their loved ones??”
Sher: “You mentioned that you’d taken a meeting with Lima, Ohio Sheriff Daniel Beck and Ipswich, New Hampshire Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain. What was the purpose for and the outcome of the meeting, as it pertains to the Illinois MMP?”
Rosanna: “They were 2 fabulous human beings and patriots. They came to give us a vision of what they have done to fight illegal immigration, what problems they have run up against and what we can do. We are now going to continue to show the video and educate and mobilize people so we can hold our officials accountable.”
Sher: “What are some of the obstructions that the Illinois MMP has been encountering from its detractors?”
Rosanna: “Joshua Hoyt Director of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and refugee rights groups sends his “Henchmen” to every Illinois Minuteman Meeting and uses fear and intimidation against anyone who wants to come to our meetings. These communists and anarchists he has joined up with assaulted 5 police officers at one of our meetings. Most [of the] time the riot police are called to hold back these folks. They hate America. They have a guy “El Pistilero who has a radio show 5 hours a day M-F. He uses most of the show to indoctrinate the illegals and spews American hate. He calls us “Americanistas”.
“These groups have 3 million dollars a year in Taxpayers’ money to hold these marches and pad [their] organizers. We have our own blood sweat and tears.”
Sher: “The Illinois MMP has some upcoming events. Can you give us some of the specifics?”
Rosanna: “OUR thrust is always and will be to educate and mobilize. We will show the film of Sheriff Daniel Beck and Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain all summer and get folks involved; [at] showing up at City Council meetings and County board meeting demanding our officials to get involved in interior enforcement thru http://www.ice.gov/partners/lesc/brochure.htm,
http://www.ice.gov/partners/287g/section287_g.htm and Fraudulent Document Training.”
Sher: “What are your upcoming plans and your ongoing and future vision for the Illinois MMP?”
Rosanna: “Carmen Mercer will come up to Chicago and help us identify leaders so we can grow state wide. We have Northern Illinois covered. We need to grow and have chapters spring up all over. I believe we live in Illinois, the MOST corrupt state in the union. It is gonna take a lot of work!!”
Sher: “Thanks for your time, Rosanna. We appreciate it.”
Sher Zieve is a long-time syndicated columnist who generally writes columns of a politically Conservative and Constitutional nature. She also interviews notable people with an interesting and/or newsworthy story to tell. These include politicians, writers, activists and others in the news. Her work has been and continues to be carried by both national and international publications. Sher appears regularly on national talk shows.