Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

About 100 people showed up at what was billed as an "immigration reduction" meeting Tuesday at the Oak Park Mall Community Room.

Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm briefly addressed the crowd at the end of the meeting in an attempt to clarify his policy on illegal immigration.

But when Stiehm began to explain his view that a city without immigrants would mean higher property taxes and lower property values, the crowd booed.

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"We are looking for ways of dealing with the issue," said Stiehm, as many began to leave the meeting.

Ron Branstner, a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corp., encouraged those attending to let their views known to politicians.

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corp. is a border-watch group affiliated with Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform and Minnesota Coalition for Immigration Reduction, and it is seeking a crackdown on illegal immigration. It was the second public meeting of its kind led by Branstner in Austin regarding the topics of illegal immigration and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act.

Stiehm said though not everyone agrees with all of his views, he believes the meetings led by Branstner will help the community.

"It lets me know where these people are at, and it lets them know where I am at," said Stiehm.

Police Chief Paul Philipp and Police Captain Curt Rude were also at the meeting.