Arizona Ranchers Hunt Mexicans

I flew out to Tucson, Arizona (a little over an hour from Nogales, Mexico)
to help out a local border rights group in their “week of action” to commemorate
the life of Esequiel Hernandez Jr. He was a high school student shot and
killed by U.S. marines in 1997, in a small border town in Redford, Texas.

Exactly one week before I arrived in Tucson, over 250 people came together
in Sierra Vista, about 2 hours away, to discuss ways of stopping the “illegal
immigration invasion” from Mexico. These were not just your local “concerned
citizens.” Included in the group were white supremacists and anti-immigration
activist’s from California. They came to support local ranchers who have
apprehended and turned over thousands of undocumented immigrants to the
Border Patrol under the pretext of “citizen’s arrest.”

The leaders of this racist campaign are Roger and Don Barnett. Over the
past several years, the Barnett brothers have rounded up over 3,000 undocumented
immigrants on their 22,000-acre property in Douglas, Arizona, near the
U.S.-Mexico border. Because some of the usual border crossing points have
been blocked, many would-be migrants are now trying their luck in places
like Douglas and Bisbee. What has brought national media attention to the
Barnetts (including a major story on “ABC Nightly News,” National Public
Radio, the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and USA Today) is that they
have publicly bragged about the thousands of immigrants that they have
caught, sometimes at gunpoint. In a May broadcast of “ABC Nightly News,”
footage showed the well- armed Barnett brothers punching one migrant and
holding nine others until the Border Patrol arrived. “I’m prepared to take
a life if I have to,” Roger Barnett told USA Today (4/28/00).