Anti-Immigration Groups in Arizona
- ADL Says Armed Anti-Immigration Groups in Arizona Share Ties to White
6 May 2003
PHOENIX, May 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Rising tides of armed vigilantism and
anti-immigrant intimidation along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona are
creating an atmosphere of fear and lawlessness, according to a new
report issued by the Anti- Defamation League (ADL). Border Disputes:
Armed Vigilantes in Arizona traces the roots and present-day activities
of extreme right- wing anti-immigrant groups active in Arizona and
documents their associations with white supremacists and anti-Semites.
"The Arizona border has become the flashpoint for America's far- right
anti-immigration movement," said Bill Straus, ADL Arizona Regional
Director. "Anti-immigration groups are engaged in a campaign of
vigilantism and intimidation, and their ideology has all the hallmarks
of the hateful rhetoric promoted by anti-Semites and racists. We are
greatly concerned that the collusion of anti- immigration groups and
their extremist sympathizers is contributing to the growing climate of
intolerance, lawlessness and violence along the Arizona-Mexico border."
Immigration control issues are often the subject of hot dispute in
border communities, but in recent months an increasing number of
extremist groups have been using radical tactics in Arizona -- including
armed vigilante action -- to promote an extreme anti- immigrant agenda.
Such groups are spearheading an effort to mobilize armed vigilantes to
"patrol" the Arizona border to stop what they view as a Mexican
"invasion." The most organized of these groups openly invite people to
"patrol" the borders using technology and weapons. ADL has identified
several groups who are promoting armed vigilantism while increasingly
working in concert with other radicals to promote an extreme worldview
-- not of immigration control or reform, but one of hate and
American Border Patrol --
This virulently anti-Hispanic group, headed by Glenn Spencer, a retired
businessman, is based in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Founded in California in
1992 as "Voices of Citizens Together," Spencer's group has warned for
more than a decade of a plan by Mexicans to "invade" and "conquer" the
Southwestern U.S. Spencer claims to have proven his conspiracy theory
that the Mexican government is "sponsoring the invasion of the United
States with hostile intent." Sales of Spencer's documentary and video
series, "Bonds of our Union," along with appeals to a mailing list of
26,000 people, help cover organizational costs. He also operates a Web
site and hosts a weekly radio show. While Spencer claims that his group
has never mounted border patrols, he admits that his group has
"accompanied others" on patrol. Spencer is a friend and ally of Roger
Barnett, a rancher from Cochise County, Arizona who has received
considerable publicity for his armed confrontations with Mexican
immigrants. Barnett maintains that he and his brother have caught more
than 2,000 illegal immigrants on their 22,000-acre ranch in Douglas,
While Spencer tries to downplay his extremist message by claiming that
he is not a racist, racist and anti-government extremist groups across
the country have embraced his rhetoric; indeed, Spencer has personally
appeared at events sponsored by white supremacists and racists.
Ranch Rescue --
Based in Arlington, Texas, Ranch Rescue was formed in June 2000 by Jack
Foote and a small group of people inspired by news reports about Roger
Barnett's activities. The group organizes armed "patrols" of the border
on private property, over which they claim the government has no
jurisdiction. Foote repeatedly has expressed the view that illegal
immigration is not a social problem, but rather a phenomenon
deliberately encouraged by the Mexican government to undermine the U.S.
Ranch Rescue claims to have chapters in six states, including
California, Illinois, New Mexico, Texas and Washington.
In October 2002, Ranch Rescue organized "Operation Hawk," a "field
mission" of armed volunteers to "patrol" the U.S.-Mexico border in
Arizona. The group has said as many as 100 members could participate in
future missions. "We are coming to the border, and we are coming in
increasing numbers," Foote has stated. More recently, on March 20, 2003,
two Ranch Rescue volunteers were arrested for detaining a pair of
Salvadorans, allegedly beating one with a pistol. The incident occurred
during a patrol dubbed "Operation Falcon" on a ranch near Hebbronville,
Texas. Two volunteers were charged with aggravated assault and unlawful
Although Ranch Rescue describes itself as a "volunteer network"
dedicated to "defending private property rights for all Americans,
regardless of race, color, creed or religion," its activities enjoy wide
support among extremist groups across the country. Foote has reached out
to a variety of white supremacists, and his interview with the neo-Nazi
National Alliance was recently posted on the Web site of Resistance
Records, a hate-music distributorship run by the NA. Foote has promoted
his organization on the shortwave radio program of Clay Douglas, the
editor of the Free American, a New Mexico-based anti-government and
Civil Homeland Defense --
A newly formed militia group, Civil Homeland Defense supports armed
"patrols" of the border. Headed by Chris Simcox, a former elementary
school teacher, the organization is made up of local ranchers from
Cochise County, who are encouraged to arm themselves for "patrol"
operations. On January 5, 2003, about 10 volunteers joined Simcox along
the Mexican border in one of its first "patrols." Another six people
were on hand as observers. Some of those observers claimed to be members
of American Border Patrol and Ranch Rescue. Simcox has blamed the
federal government and U.S. Border Patrol for failing to "stop the flood
of immigrants funneling through Cochise County," and has engaged in
bizarre conspiracy theories, including the notion that the Mexican Army
is using "Chinese troops" and weaponry.
In mid-March 2003, Simcox led 34 volunteers with flashlight and
night-vision devices to patrol Cochise County's border with Mexico,
concluding, in Simcox's words, "its most productive -- yet most
terrifying -- weekend to date." He claimed to have seized 43 illegal
immigrants and turned them over to the Border Patrol and to have
frightened off another 80. Since the beginning of the war with Iraq,
Simcox claims his group has conducted daily patrols, seizing more than
200 migrants. Simcox is the publisher of a local newspaper, the
Tombstone Tumbleweed, which often assumes a militant tone.
EDITORS NOTE: The full report, Border Disputes: Armed Vigilantes in
Arizona is available on the League's Web site at http:// www.adl.org.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading
organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that
counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
Que todos se levanten, May all rise up,
que ni uno ni otro May all be called
se quede atras de los demas. May no one be left behind.
--Pop Wuj the others.