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Anti-Immigration Groups in Arizona

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  • Donna Dove
    ADL Says Armed Anti-Immigration Groups in Arizona Share Ties to White Supremacists 6 May 2003 U.S. Newswire PHOENIX, May 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Rising tides of
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7, 2003
      ADL Says Armed Anti-Immigration Groups in Arizona Share Ties to White
      Supremacists

      6 May 2003
      U.S. Newswire

      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."

      Armed Vigilantes

      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
      intolerance.

      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,
      Ariz.

      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
      restraint.

      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
      anti-Semitic publication.

      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.

      http://www.usnewswire.com


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      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.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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