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4/2005 - ( CD - Minutemen ) What border residents think of migrants and Minutemen...

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  • Al Soto
    AZ Daily Star ... being ... the ... to ... he ... Puckett, ... hat. ... his ... used ... pretty ... but ... the hot ... Bisbee ... illegal ... meatloaf ... a
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2005
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      AZ Daily Star
      >What border residents think of migrants and Minutemen
      >By Michael Marizco
      >DOUGLAS - To hear a Minuteman Project volunteer tell it, people are
      >robbed, raped and beaten by illegal entrants along this stretch of the
      >Arizona-Mexico border.
      >Ask California activists, and they'll tell you how Arizona has become
      >hate-state epicenter of the country.
      >In the latest immigration debate, perception has become more damaging
      >this small border town than reality.
      >And the people who live along this stretch of the border are getting a
      >little tired of it all.
      >"There's been people tied up and robbed; I talked to one guy who said
      >was robbed three different times," says Minuteman volunteer Freddy
      >a button that says "Kiss Me, I'm Ugly" pinned to his camouflage boonie
      >"People are scared to death out here," the Cochise resident says.
      >There's little evidence of it because people are afraid to talk, said
      >fellow Minuteman, Oracle resident Ron Johnson.
      >In Palominas, John Evans watches Minuteman volunteers drive past. He
      >to think they were vigilantes until he met them and found they were
      >nice guys giving up a lot of their time for us."
      >He hasn't had many problems with illegal entrants or property crime,
      >Evans said he supports what the Minuteman Project is doing.
      >"What they're doing is going to spur some action," he said. "Something
      >needs to be done."
      >But other border residents like Darrell Van der Werf, view the
      >self-described border guards as more of a nuisance than the illegal
      >"They drive too fast, they go by making dust. Then they go
      out into
      the hot
      >sun under an umbrella and sit there. What the hell is that?" the
      >Junction resident says.
      >"These people ain't got nothing else to do."
      >In 30 years, he's been broken into once. The burglar, presumably an
      >entrant, stole his gun but forgot to take the cylinder and stole a
      >that had gone bad.
      >"I hope he got sick off it," he said. "But the Mexicans never bother
      >For 63 years, Lorene Hardt has lived on Border Road south of Bisbee in
      >tree-covered home where she raised three children less than a
      >north of the border.
      >A decade ago, she was among the victims of a three-year string of 15
      >robberies by border bandits initially thought to have come from
      >They turned out to be teenagers from nearby Bisbee and Naco.
      >Hardt said she's
      never run across an illegal entrant even though her
      >sits near one of the stretches of barbed-wire borderline the Minuteman
      >volunteers patrol. Her encounters with migrants are limited to the
      >jugs and other trash the people leave behind.
      >She's never seen a Minuteman either.
      >She did hear there was a group up the road from her place the other
      >Illegal entrants? Minutemen?
      >"No, I heard there was a group of reporters," she said.
      >Maryann Vell, 78, is a border activist from up near Willcox who
      >down to volunteer in the project twice a week. Border problems are
      >new, she says, but now there are too many coming too fast.
      >"They'll destroy us and destroy our world if it weren't for patriotic
      >people like us."
      >She's "very disappointed" more Arizonans haven't joined the Minuteman
      >Ben Leiendecker, 80, will tell you different.
      >"I'm my own Minuteman!" he said.
      >The Palominas rancher keeps a .45-caliber pistol under his bed and has
      >planned out how he'll react to a gunfight when the drug smugglers come
      >He's faced problems with illegal entrants his whole life, he said.
      >"They trash my pasture, they cut my fences. I'll spend half a day
      >straightening the fence where they bend it to cross through," he said.
      >"I'll tell you something: My family has lived here since 1912 and I'll
      >fight to the death to stay here some more."
      >His type of complaint is more common than the raping and pillaging the
      >Minuteman volunteers discuss, county officials say.
      >The Cochise County Sheriff's Department, which covers most the border
      >except for Douglas, responds mainly to property crime reports on
      >border, said department spokeswoman Carol Capas.
      >But other things do happen. In January 2004, the Sheriff's Department
      >started a volunteer patrol in Palominas after a woman and her daughter
      >beaten and stabbed by three illegal entrants. Last month, an
      >gunman led police on a high-speed chase from Interstate 10 and nearly
      >it back to Mexico before he ran into a wall of federal gunfire north
      >But it's been about 10 years since border-related crime was a serious
      >in Cochise County, she said. By contrast, there have been four cases
      >illegal entrants beaten and robbed by border bandits in the past year,
      >In Douglas, word of another protest, this one planned to shut down the
      >of entry and boycott Douglas businesses, has local officials and
      >The lead organizer for that protest, Armando Navarro, a University of
      >California-Riverside professor and head of the National Alliance for
      >Rights, said he's canceled the planned Saturday protest because he
      >developed laryngitis. He said he'll return to Douglas eventually.
      >he said he'll focus his protests in California, where the Minuteman
      >will expand its border-watch effort.
      >When news of the Minuteman Project hit town, Raul Monta´┐Żo's Border
      Mart gas
      >station and convenience store north of the port of entry at Douglas
      >suffered. Then news of the boycott hit, and business dropped, he said.
      >During a similar boycott last week, he suffered a 25 percent loss in
      >"That only happens when the groups come down and try to close the
      >he said. Anita Garcia, owner of Nubes Steak House in Douglas,
      >loud why Californians think they need to protest in Arizona.
      >"Shame on all those people. Why pick on Douglas all of a sudden? We
      >need that kind of a bad name," she said.
      >She's lived in Douglas 59 years and is aware of the crime and violence
      >hits this otherwise quiet town. But she says she's also aware of the
      >problems anywhere else.
      >Across the port of entry, Carlos Puebla, 30, took a job selling
      chewing gum
      >to people waiting to cross into the United States.
      >"If they're protesting Arizona, then please make them stay in
      Arizona," he
      >"This port is what people make a living from."
      >As a result of the flurry of protests and counter-protests, Douglas is
      >getting an image problem and Mexican shoppers are staying away, said
      >Manager Mike Ortega.
      >In response, the
      Chamber of Commerce is launching its own media
      campaign in
      >Sonora to encourage shoppers to please come back.
      >The plan to boycott Douglas to protest the Minutemen surprised
      >Project supporter John Evans in Palominas.
      >"What's that going to accomplish?"
      >He thought about it for a moment, then grinned.
      >"That's their right. Somebody protests and then somebody's going to
      >him. That's just America, man."
      >? Contact reporter Michael Marizco at 573-4213 or at
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      Buy Hydrogen or Hybrid Vehicles, not Hummers.  The government and the NEWS should reflect, not determine, the desires of the people.The news is to be reported not a melodrama of constant trivia. The founding fathers knew that government is always corrupt, that is why they gave us civil liberties.  The people must lead to survive corrupt governments. Read the constitution. (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this includes information for research and educational purposes.)  Al Soto (c) 2005

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