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Minutemen making roads in Iowa

By Jennifer Hemmingsen The Gazette

J. Michael Haskins stood in the lobby of the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids before Lance Armstrong's cancer forum for Republican presidential candidates nearly two weeks ago. He held two fliers -- a fluorescent yellow Minuteman volunteer registration form and a white news release talking about the plight of veterans.

"American veterans reform? Anyone for helping the veterans? Minutemen?" he asked as people trickled into the arena.

Haskins, director of the Johnson County chapter of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, was recruiting.

Although organizers say most Iowans have never heard of them, the controversial anti-immigration group has been active in the state for more than a year. Members say they are developing chapters in Iowa because the state and country have reached a crisis point in immigration enforcement.

The group alarms many who call it extremist.

"We would put the Minuteman movement as a potentially violent fringe of the nativist movement in this country," said Devin Burghart, who tracks anti-immigrant groups as director of the Chicago-based Center for New Community's Building Democracy Initiative. ~Snip~

Click here to visit the original story at the GazetteOnline.com

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