The controversial Minuteman Project is riding out of retirement in response the U.S.’s current immigration crisis.
Organizer Jim Gilchrist is calling for 3,500 non-militia volunteers to meet him along the border next year to carry out a new movement he’s calling “Operation Normandy.”
He chose the name because he wants the scope to be as big as the 1944 D-Day invasion and as a nod to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“Eisenhower is the first president who took immigration seriously, repatriating immigrants after World War II,” said Gilchrist.
However, he said on his website they will not be invading anyone, but instead stopping the invasion.
The Minuteman is trying to rally his group of thousands to patrol the border from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas, hoping to bring attention to the immigration crisis and to help keep undocumented immigrants from crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.
When a Minuteman finds someone coming into the country illegally, they are ordered to call Border Patrol to handle that person's capture.
Gilchrist aims to have his force ready by next May.
His movement is in response to the overwhelming number of Central American immigrants who have fled to the country. In the past week, about 400 immigrant women and children were flown into San Diego for processing to relieve congestion at Texas Border Patrol sectors.
A 2008 law that allows Central American children to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol and seek asylum has been a factor in the flood of unaccompanied, undocumented minors crossing the border, immigration attorneys say.
By reigniting the Minuteman Project, Gilchrist hopes to get that law changed.
“The way we are going, we are literally encouraging the transfer of huge segments of population from Central America and Mexico into the United States,” said Gilchrist.
The Minutemen have garnered controversy over the past decade for putting untrained volunteers along the border, some carrying guns.
Pedro Rios, a member of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, criticized Gilchrist’s effort in the following statement:
"Any type of vigilantism, like the Minutemen Project, where armed citizens take the law into their own hands, is dangerous and only serves to increase tension and promote violence in border communities."