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Open Season: As Extremists Peddle Their Anti-Immigrants Rhetoric Along the Troubled Arizona Border, a Storm Gathers

NCJ Number
Intelligence Report Issue: 109 Dated: Spring 2003 Pages: 6-19
Bob Moser
Date Published
14 pages
This article discusses vigilante violence at the United States/Mexican border in Arizona.
Since the mid-1990’s, a major change in United States border policy shifted the flow of immigrants from the urban areas to the less populous areas. One of the most popular crossings now for illegal Mexican immigrants is through southern Arizona. The author explains that many of the locals in that region have had problems with the immigrants passing through and dislike their presence. Also, the area in southern Arizona has attracted some of the most anti-immigrant and hate groups in the Nation. As a result, locals and members of hate groups are creating bands of vigilantes who hunt for illegal immigrants in order to stop their progression into the United States. The local law enforcement leaders are described as tolerant of the vigilante justice, neither supporting it nor prosecuting citizens for practicing it. The author discusses the racism inherent in the vigilante justice being forced on illegal Mexican immigrants. Highlighted in the article is the story of how Glenn Spencer, the leader of the hate group American Border Patrol, set up shop in Cochise County, Arizona. Spencer believes that Mexicans are staging a takeover of American land and leads a group who vows to round them up and deliver them to proper United States authorities. Another vigilante group called Ranch Rescue, headed by Gulf War veteran Jack Foote, uses paramilitary operations to stop border incursions by Mexicans. The author discusses the environment of hostility in the Arizona desert and notes the many violent episodes that have taken place in the name of justice. A textbox offers a glimpse at a number of suspicious incidents that have occurred from April 1999 through January 2003. In conclusion, the gravity of the situation is discussed. As agitators from around the country move into southern Arizona and rile up the locals, more bloodshed is bound to occur if the situation is left unchecked.


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