Chris Simcox

Chris Simcox, the owner and publisher of Arizona’s Tombstone Tumbleweed and a co-founder of the Minuteman Project, says he was denied entry to a press conference with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Simcox said he was told Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief Michael Nicley said he could not attend the press conference Thursday, but was given no reason.

Simcox said he was told to call Nicley for the reason he was denied access, but, as of Friday, he had not returned several phone calls.

“I showed up with credentials and was held outside the gate,” Simcox told the Sierra Vista Herald Review.

Simcox is considering seeking advice from an attorney and even the American Civil Liberties Union because he believes his First Amendment rights as a member of the press were denied.

Before the press conference, he received notice of it like other members of the media. Simcox said he sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security saying he was going to attend. No one from the department’s public affairs office called saying he would be barred.

Simcox said he believes Nicley refused him admittance because of his connection with the Minuteman Project, which involved volunteers watching the border in Cochise County throughout April. Simcox was a co-organizer of the event with Californian Jim Gilchrist.

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