In their editorial, the newspaper’s editors took aim at a local group of Minutemen who helped organize the event:
What’s more, by going after the workers in McGonigle Canyon, the Minutemen weaken their repeated statements that their efforts to stem illegal immigration have nothing to do with race and everything to do with the rule of law. There is no way of knowing whether the workers are illegal. In fact, the San Diego Police Department tells us that many are in the United States legally.
The message here is that if you are homeless and happen to be Latino, you will automatically be dubbed “illegal.” It’s doubtful the rally would have taken place if the homeless workers had been white. …
To be sure, the Minutemen have every right to protest, but the protests are coming dangerously close to harassment, especially when their aim is to target folks who are Latino and poor. They’ve taken the civil disobedience model of Martin Luther King Jr. to an ugly level.
While the newspaper lamented the nature of the protest and the tenor of the larger immigration debate, it also criticized the politicians who have used the situation to their own benefit.
Assemblyman and state Sen.-elect Mark Wyland of Vista was at the rally, saying he supports “every single one of these people who came out here.” Congressman Brian Bilbray, who keeps an office in Escondido, has headlined other Minutemen rallies.
That’s just poor leadership. Instead of offering a real solution to the problem, our politicians are encouraging folks to roust the homeless out of their makeshift shelters.
The newspaper made no mention of Major Jerry Sanders, who appeared on a conservative AM talk-radio show the day before the protest. Sanders credited Rick Roberts, the show’s host, with helping to force action in the canyon.