It's not difficult, after a few Google and Nexus searches, to conclude that Minuteman Civil Defense League founder Jim Gilchrist has a penchant for saying what he thinks, and for saying things that might give more polite company some pause.

He is also controversial within the movement, having been fired by the Minuteman board this year after an internal dispute.

Tuesday, Huckabee said that “No one can question Jim's commitment to this country and the immigration problem. He has mobilized a group of volunteers to go to the border and draw attention to the issue of immigration."

As recently as 2005, Mr. Gilchrist was prone to the type of statement that makes most opponents of illegal immigration wince, hitting all the stereotypes that such opponents are nativists.

For Gilchrist, the immigration problem is cultural and ethnic.

To the Orange County Weekly, he said that in 40 years, "The United States is going to have 100 tribes with 100 languages and no common bond." On his website that year, Gilchrist wrote that undocumented immigrants "and their offspring will be the dominant population in the U.S. and will have made such inroads into the political and social systems that they will have more influence than the U.S. Constitution over how the U.S. is governed. That ugly consequence is already taking place."

He has decried the "colonization" of parts of California by Mexican immigrants. He supports mandatory testing of immigrants for a variety of diseases, urges candidates to form a cabinet-level "Department of Mexico" to deal with the immigration problem, and, notably, whether candidates support in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

Mr. Huckabee once signed such a bill.

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