UPDATE: Looking around the web and in the "All News" file of Nexis-Lexis, we find no reference to Ron Branstner, other than notices of the PB and Austin Herald coverage of yesterday's meeting and an August 20 letter to the St. Cloud Times from Branstner and MINN-SIR. The address given by the St. Cloud Times letter is Hanska, home of MINN-SIR. [end update].
State Senator Dick Day has chosen to make immigration the number one issue in his bid for GOP endorsement for the 2008 congressional race. The Pipestone Star notes that he stressed this issue last week at a GOP picnic in Edgerton on September 13.
Today's Rochester Post Bulletin reports in Anger flares at 'immigration reduction' meeting that Day turned out a a meeting where the guest speaker was Ron Branstner:
Passionate voices rang out against illegal immigration Monday night when a group of local residents met to discuss their opinions and concerns with guest speaker Ron Branstner, a minuteman from California.
The community meeting was sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition for Immigration Reduction group.
The speaker flattered the older audience, buthad less than kind words for young Americans:
"This group in front of me is the greatest generation," said Branstner. "This is a group that fought in World War II. ... We don't see the same kind of heart and tenacity in the younger generation. Let's face it, the younger generation is blind, deaf and dumb. We need to educate the younger generation so they know what is really going on with these issues. We need that wall and we need more border patrol."
The eldest of the 4-pak hoping to challenger Walz in next November's general election attended the meeting:
Republican congressional candidate State Sen. Dick Day attended the meeting and spoke about his congressional proposal to control America's borders.
"This is the biggest issue today in the state of Minnesota," said Day. "The first thing is protect the damn border. The second is everyone has to be legal. This is a huge, huge issue. A lot of people are afraid of it."
Many in the crowd were fired up on the issue.
"The constitution is being taken away from us," shouted one person.
"This is going to be a third-world country soon," said another.
"Everyone in the world is going to come here," another said.
As one man was leaving, he suggested that the group "buy bullets."
The leader of Austin's Welcome Center attended, and the crowd let her know she wasn't welcome, not even in the country of her birth:
Many in the group let [Liliana] Silvestry know her presence was not welcome.
"Send her back," said one person in the group.
"You are not the speaker tonight," said another.
Branstner asked the group to listen to what Silvestry had to say.
Silvestry said the intent of the Welcome Center was to break down communication barriers and teach newcomers how to manage life on their own and help them find jobs.
"Yeah, illegal newcomers," said one person in the group.
Silvestry responded by saying she believes every person that comes to the country should come legally.
"I stand for those who want to come here, pay taxes and make their life better," said Silvestry. "I came to Austin because I was invited here to develop a program."
"Welcome to America," said Branstner.
"I've been here since I was born," responded Silvestry.
The Austin Daily Herald has more in Emotions high at Minuteman presentation:
Late in the two-hour meeting, state Sen. Dick Day, R-Owatonna, spoke to the reformists and was interrupted by cheers and applause.
Day, a candidate for the 1st Congressional District seat held by Democrat Rep. Tim Walz, has called for immigration reform and a physical border barrier in high-density population areas such as urban California.
Day also said he is going to the same Arizona ranch area where Branstner served to observe a Minuteman Project first-hand.
Neither article gives a crowd count, though the Austin paper reports the crowd filled the crafts room at the Austin Senior Center.