The Plan: On September 20, 2014 @ 8:00am PST, bring traffic from the Pacific Ocean to Brownsville, Texas, to a halt by blockade created by Americans using their vehicles as barricades.
Protesters driving south on Interstate 5 should turn off their engines only yards before they get to the Mexican border, which will block traffic from entering Mexico. (complete plan on their website)
“You get out of your car and take your keys with you,” she told me Wednesday from her home. “You stand there and wave your American flag and try to get the message to D.C. that they need to close our border.”
The Desired Result: Cause enough chaos that it will make both governments stand up and take note, forcing them to take action to bring our Marine home, which Obama could do with a phone call.
Barth and Rob Chupp, a militia member from Indiana who also worked on the plan, wants this to serve the dual purpose of protesting immigration failures.
You can find more information on their website: http://www.shutdownallports.com/
“That’s why we put out a travel advisory,” Barth explained. “I don’t want to inconvenience people. I want to make a point. People protest all the time and it affects other people’s lives. Airline pilots go on strike, transportation workers go on strike constantly and they don’t get any flak for that.” (Oh sure–just ask the air traffic controllers who went on strike in 1981.)
For their part, officials at the California Highway Patrol and Customs and Border Protection are aware of the impending plan for civil disobedience.
“CBP has contingency plans ready to put into place in the event of any protest or a temporary blockage of traffic at our international border crossings,” CBP spokesman Ralph DeSio told me by email. “For security reasons, we do not discuss specifics regarding such plans. We work in close coordination with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners in order to respond to any situation that may occur at or near our ports of entry.”
Barth said she is not a member of any tea party group and considers herself a political independent, but her sentiment that her country is slipping away from her is a familiar conservative theme, and one that is shared by the sort of people you saw screaming at buses of little Central American kids in Murrieta last July. (Barth was there.)
In Murrieta, Barth said, she encountered pro-immigrant protesters from La Raza who told her that “’California belongs to Mexico,’ and we better get used to that. Then Jerry Brown comes out and says everyone is welcome here no matter what. That’s feeding into it. He doesn’t realize when they get power, he’s out too.”
Last month, Barth neatly printed “Free Sgt. Tahmooressi” in white paint on the tinted windows of her big Yukon SUV and drove to Solana Beach to attend a press conference with Tahmooressi’s mother, Jill, and his attorney, Fernando Benitez. In a voice shaking with emotion, Barth announced that she knew people “who will stop what they are doing and get him.” Benitez has said repeatedly that such rhetoric is unlikely to help his client, whose case may not be resolved until the end of the year.
Securing the release of Tahmooressi is Barth’s No. 1 goal. That is “nonnegotiable,” she says, even though, as I pointed out, she has no place at the negotiating table since there isn’t one. The man, after all, is on trial in a foreign country on gun charges.
The rest of her mission is a bit of a jumble: She believes that members of drug cartels and gangs cross our border with impunity because U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are not allowed to “detain and remove” immigrants. (It appears to me that she is arguing that dangerous criminals who try to cross into the United States ought to be returned to Mexico rather than incarcerated here because our jails are crowded.)
She also wants a “clear plan of action” to seal off the U.S. Southern border “by means of a military-grade fence with razor wire,” more Border Patrol agents and national guardsmen. She wants all foreign aid to Mexico to be used “to build up their middle class” and a halt of foreign aid to any countries that support terrorist organizations. She wants an end to “sanctuary cities,” to any government aid (including medical or educational) for immigrants here illegally, and criminal penalties for anyone who hires folks without papers.
Finally–and I kind of like her chutzpah here–she is demanding immunity for “all protesters involved in this protest that have conducted themselves in a peaceful manner.”
Typically, I reminded her, someone engaged in civil disobedience understands that she might be arrested and prosecuted for deliberately flouting the law.
“I hope not,” she said with a sigh. “I have quite a few medical issues so that would not be my ideal situation. Most days I can barely move.” (Among other ailments, she has rheumatoid arthritis.) But, she added brightly, “If that’s what it takes, people long before me have been willing to risk everything to ensure that this country stays free and safe and remains true to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”