Jim Gilchrist

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This article is about the American activist. For other similarly named people, see James Gilchrist (disambiguation).
Jim Gilchrist
Born James Walter Gilchrist, Jr.
(1949-01-13) January 13, 1949 (age 67)[1]
North Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.[2]
Nationality American
Occupation Founder, Minuteman Project
Political party Republican

James Walter "Jim" Gilchrist, Jr. (born January 13, 1949) is an American political activist and the co-founder and president of the Minuteman Project, an activist group whose aim is to prevent illegal immigration across the southern border of the United States.

Early life and education[edit]

Gilchrist was born in Rhode Island in January 1949, and spent his childhood in Kansas and Texas. He lived with his two twin older brothers and his father, who was a World War II Navy enlistee. At the age of seventeen, he left home because of years of abuse from his father and stepmother. He moved to a small apartment in Providence, Rhode Island where he completed high school as he worked at a car wash. After high school Gilchrist enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.[3]

Military service[edit]

Gilchrist entered in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. He was stationed at a site that is one hundred miles North of Da Nang, which was just below the Demilitarized Zone. He spent thirteen months in Vietnam, and saw about one hundred battles. Gilchrist mostly saw assault duty during his tour. Gilchrist was struck with a bullet on the battlefield, which later earned him the Purple Heart. Today he keeps photos of his comrades and outposts to remind him of his experiences in the Vietnam War. His time in Vietnam has shaped the way that he views war. He says, “I’d be very, very cautious about sending any American soldiers into any war environment. I’d be very insistent upon adequate cover.”[3]

Minutemen Project[edit]

Co-founder of the Minuteman Movement[edit]

Gilchrist and Chris Simcox are widely recognized as the founders of the Minuteman Project. They founded the organization on October 1, 2004.[4] The two staged a month-long border watch project in April 2005 and that event catapulted the Minuteman movement into the national spotlight.[5] Gilchrist chose to locate in Arizona for the Project, because there was a disproportionately large number of illegal immigrants crossing in that state.[6]

Minutemen: The Battle to Secure America's Borders[edit]

Minutemen is a book coauthored by Gilchrist and Jerome R. Corsi. It was written in 2006 and addressed the illegal immigration issue in America. The book is 375 pages long and has twelve chapters. It also features a forward from Congressman Tom Tancredo.

The book tries to persuade readers that illegal immigration is a dangerous and costly problem that needs an immediate policy solution. Gilchrist and Corsi claim that there is a population of 30 million illegal immigrants in the United States. The preface states, “This is an invasion, not a visit by neighbors asking for a cup of sugar.”

The invasion theme is seen throughout the book. Gilchrist and Corsi repeatedly make the claim that it is not just workers and families that come across the border, but criminals who also enter the country illegally. The authors state that 10–20% of people that enter the country illegally are criminals, and 10% will become criminals once they arrive in the U.S.

Additionally, Gilchrist believes that the open borders would create a welfare state, due to his belief that many of the immigrants take advantage of social benefits in America. However, due to laws, they can't get any aid from the government. The authors say that the number of undereducated illegal immigrants could outnumber the middle class. But those undereducated immigrants are raising kids that are surpassing Americans in education. They discuss “anchor babies”, which is the large population of children born on U.S. soil to illegal immigrants. Since they are born in the United States, then they are American citizens by default. When the anchor babies are twenty-one years old, then they are able to sponsor their parents in the citizenship process. By then they are also participating in the workforce paying taxes to support the country like the rest of Americans.

The book also provides information about the Minutemen Project. It says that the goal of the group is to provide awareness of the disregard by politicians of the "illegal immigration crisis" and to prove that the mere presence of a person at the border would deter illegal crossings. Frustrated by his organization being called vigilantes, Gilchrist says that if people want to correctly address them, then this is what they should call the Minutemen Project: “a law-abiding, multiethnic, law-enforcement advocacy group, in favor of the orderly queue of legal immigration and opposed to the perilous chaos of illegal immigration.”

Gilchrist and Corsi disapprove of the way that employers abuse illegal immigrants by paying them lower wages and denying them benefits. The book refers to this the "twenty-first-century slave trade", and says that this undermines the wages that U.S. citizens earn.

Minutemen devotes a whole chapter to discuss the death of law enforcement officer Deputy David March. March was killed by an illegal immigrant involved in gang and drug activities during a routine traffic stop.

Political views[edit]

Gilchrist holds conservative views on education, health care, and taxes. Gilchrist was registered with the American Independent Party, the California affiliate of the Constitution Party, but has since re-registered as a Republican,[7] and is an adamant supporter of immigration enforcement, law enforcement and the military. He announced his endorsement of Mike Huckabee for President in December 2007.[8] The endorsement of Huckabee by Gilchrist met with strong criticism from other minutemen and anti-illegal immigration activists.[9][10] It should also be noted that this was a personal, individual endorsement by Gilchrist, not an endorsement by any minuteman organization.[9]

2005 election bid[edit]

Gilchrist unsuccessfully ran as an American Independent Party candidate for the United States House of Representatives representing California's 48th congressional district to replace Republican Christopher Cox, who resigned to become Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In the low-turnout open primary for Cox's seat held on October 4, 2005, Gilchrist finished behind two Republicans but ahead of all other candidates, including Democrats. He received 14.8% of the vote (a total of 13,423 votes). He was the only one running under his party, and therefore automatically advanced into the run-off.

Gilchrist lost to Republican state Senator John Campbell in the December 6 general election, receiving 25.5% (26,507) of the vote. Campbell received 44.4% (46,184), Steve Young (Democrat) 27.8% (28,853), Bea Tiritilli (Green) 1.4% (1,430), Bruce Cohen (Libertarian) 0.9% (974).

Gilchrist has provided conservative opinions on various issues but emphasized that immigration and the border is the primary issue from which the others flow.

Gilchrist stated that he would have considered a presidential run in 2008 with the Constitution Party, should the two major parties offer candidates with no proactive history on the issue of illegal immigration.[11] He stated "If John McCain enters the race for president I will definitely run. John McCain should have forfeited his right to run for president on the Republican Party the moment he put his name on immigration legislation with Sen. Ted Kennedy." However, McCain did enter the race, but Gilchrist later withdrew his intention to run, citing concerns about viability in third parties.

Personal life[edit]

Gilchrist holds a BA in newspaper journalism from the University of Rhode Island, a BS in business administration from California State Polytechnic University, and an MBA in taxation from Golden Gate University. He is a former newspaper reporter and a retired California CPA (Certified Public Accountant). He resides in Aliso Viejo, California with his wife, Sandy.[4]


In October 2006, Gilchrist appeared on Democracy Now and abruptly ended the interview after Karina Garcia started accusing him of being a murderer and said that he has ties to the white supremacist group National Alliance.[12]

In a March 2006, interview with the Orange County Register, Gilchrist stopped just short of calling for his followers to pick up their guns: "I'm not going to promote insurrection, but if it happens, it will be on the conscience of the members of Congress who are doing this," he said. "I will not promote violence in resolving this, but I will not stop others who might pursue that."[13]

In May 2010, Politico reported that Howie Morgan, the Minuteman Project's political director, may have solicited donations from political campaigns in exchange for Gilchrist's endorsement.[14] Rick Perry, Parker Griffith and Tim Bridgewater were all recipients of Gilchrist's endorsements in 2010. Mo Brooks, an Alabama politician running against Griffith, said that Morgan indicated Gilchrist would endorse Brooks if Morgan was hired.[14]

In September 2014, the Daily Show made a segment about the Honduran children immigration featuring an interview with Jim Gilchrist, who compared the recent events at the border with a Trojan Horse situation, the vanguard of a Latino invasion of the United States. The correspondent Michael Che poked fun at Gilchrist's initiative against immigrants, called "Operation Normandy": "If this is Operation Normandy and the children are invading us, wouldn't that make us the Nazis?" . Gilchrist warned against the dangers of the "latinization of America" that the young refugees posed and added, to a baffled interviewer, "We're all going to die some day. (...) I'm not giving a death wish on these children coming here (...) I'm saying that there's some things realistically you cannot stop.".[15]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Minutemen Project: About Us". 
  2. ^ "Minuteman Project founder finds inspiration in Concord". The Boston Herald. December 14, 2006. 
  3. ^ a b Gilchrist, Jim; Jerome Corsi (2006). Minutemen: The Battle to Secure America's Borders. Los Angeles, California: World Ahead Publishing Inc. pp. 84–85. ISBN 0-9778984-1-5.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Minutemen" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ a b "About Jim Gilchrist". Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  5. ^ Sean Hannity Visits the Minutemen Volunteers in Arizona, Tuesday, April 19, 2005, Interview Archive, a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," April 18, 2005, that has been edited for clarity. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,153908,00.html
  6. ^ Chavez, Leo (2008). The Latino Threat. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. p. 134. 
  7. ^ About at Jim Gilchrist’s Official Website
  8. ^ Mike Huckabee for President – Blogs – Minuteman Founder Endorses Huckabee
  9. ^ a b Marc Ambinder (December 13, 2007) – Minutemen Bash Founder Over Huckabee Endorsement
  10. ^ VDARE.com: 12/11/07 – Meet the GOP's Border Control Cross-Dressers
  11. ^ "Founder of Minutemen targets run for president". 
  12. ^ "Democracy Now! Minuteman Founder Jim Gilchrist Storms Off Democracy Now! Debate With Columbia Student Organizer". 
  13. ^ News: Minutemen to patrol border in 4 states – OCRegister.com
  14. ^ a b Smith, Ben. A price tag for Minuteman support? Politico. May 26, 2010.
  15. ^ "No Country for Little Kids". 

External links[edit]