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The founder of the border patrol group Minuteman Project says he plans to file suit over the fact a California city’s event committee has barred his organization from participating in the town’s Patriots’ Day parade.
According to a statement from the group, Jim Gilchrist will announce the legal action tonight at a meeting of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform.
Gilchrist, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year in Orange County, Calif., in a special election, says the city of Laguna Beach Parade Committee rejected a request to have a float in the March 4 event Thursday, just one hour after it was submitted.
According to an Associated Press report, the Minuteman Project proposed a float bearing dancers who would perform a choreographed act with binoculars and folding chairs to imitate border patrollers and another group of actors in Revolutionary War costumes. About 400 civilian volunteers would follow the float on foot, Gilchrist said, many of whom are military veterans.
The parade committee reaffirmed its position to bar the float Monday after a three-hour meeting, saying it was rejecting the entry based on political grounds. The committee has a policy to bar participation of groups with a religious or political affiliation or message.
“They say the Minuteman Project is controversial, but so is the gay group and so is the vigil for peace [other groups that have marched in the past]. Every time I go down to the Main Beach there, I see them protesting” against the Iraq war, Gilchrist told AP. “I have no objection to any of these other groups, so why are they discriminating against us?”
Tim Bueler of the Minuteman Project says the organization has secured the services of the Lively & Ackerman law firm and also is talking to the Rutherford Institute, a legal group specializing in civil and religious liberties, about participating in the action.
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