The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Accused Nativist Murderer Once Claimed to Represent FAIR

By Casey Sanchez on June 15, 2009 - 5:30 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

Shawna Forde, 41, the nativist extremist who was arrested on Friday in Arizona on two counts of first-degree murder, is known as the leader of Minuteman American Defense (MAD), a hard-line group opposed to undocumented immigration. But three years ago, appearing on a televised immigration roundtable organized by a local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate in Washington state, Forde was repeatedly identified as a representative of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) — an organization that has repeatedly stressed its mainstream credentials and is, in fact, regularly quoted in the media and asked for expert testimony in Congress. The PBS show’s producer told Hatewatch that Forde presented herself as a FAIR representative.

(UPDATE: On Tuesday, June 16, FAIR denied it ever had any association with Forde, writing in a press release that “the SPLC and organizations advocating mass amnesty and open borders” were engaging in a “smear campaign.” Forde’s claims of a link to FAIR were also written up in several major blogs other than Hatewatch.)

Since late 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center (which publishes this blog) has listed FAIR as a hate group. Among the reasons: Key staff members of FAIR have ties to white supremacist groups, including writing for their publications and speaking at their functions; the group accepted more than $1 million from a racist foundation dedicated to the study of racial differences in intelligence; its founder’s ties to racists and the racist movement; and other matters detailed here and here.

Earlier today, the Immigrant Rights blog was the first to notice Forde’s appearance on the Nov. 14, 2006, KYVE-TV show. Taped in Yakima, Wash., a city with a large number of Mexican immigrants, the show profiles local immigration advocates and opponents. When the camera rolls on Forde, the host describes her as “a member of the Minutemen and a representative for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a national group concerned about border security, illegal immigrants and our immigration policies.” In the video, Forde wears glasses and long black hair, noticeably different from her current look of short blond hair and contacts.  She appears just after the five-minute mark, with an identifier that reads, “Minuteman & Activist, FAIR.”

Shawna Forde

Contacted by Hatewatch, Enrique Cerna, the host of the show and an executive producer, said it’s difficult to remember all the production details of a segment produced three years ago. Still, he said his producers had contacted FAIR, asking for a representative to appear on the show. That representative cancelled at the last minute and was replaced by Forde, who identified herself as a FAIR official. “We wouldn’t have identified her with that organization if she hadn’t said she was speaking on their behalf,” said Cerna. On the show, Forde claims that the state of Washington spends $500 million on illegal immigration. “It’s pretty easy … if you hire somebody who is illegal, it’s a crime,” Forde replied when asked what is to be done about illegal immigration. “What makes this a wonderful nation and one of the greatest nations on earth is we are a nation of laws.”

Forde’s June 12 arrest on two counts of first-degree murder stems from a May 30 home invasion robbery in Arivaca, Ariz., which she allegedly carried out to get drugs and cash to fund her group’s operations. (It’s not known whether the invaders found either cash or drugs.) Shot and killed in the invasion were resident Raul Flores, 29, and his 9-year old daughter Brisenia. Flores’ wife was also shot, but returned fire, wounding Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, a member of MAD, Forde’s organization. Also arrested on Friday was MAD operations director Jason Eugene “Gunny” Bush, 34, who has been accused by law enforcement of being the alleged triggerman in the murders. Bush was additionally charged today with the 1997 murder of a Latino man in Wenatchee, Wash. According to the Wenatchee, Wash., police, Bush, “had long standing ties to Aryan Nations groups that commonly believe in white superiority over other races and have been known to be violent towards non-white races.”

  • John Falkenstine

    Aug 16 2009: According to news released this weekend, prosecutors will demand the death penalty if found guilty. While the Mexican people suffer under corruption and gangs, border residents on the American Side have put up with these nutcases for too long as well. Law and order must exist on both sides of the border. BTW today (Sunday) it was 115 degrees out in the desert. Just think how many crossers have expired today, the likelihood of their bodies being found is very small. Many of the crossers now are not even Mexican, but from Guatemala or El Salvador. They’re not all criminals, but often just desperate teenagers, often as young as 14 trying a new start for themselves and their families

  • Linda Fermentto

    May Shawna and her friends burn in hell like they deserve!

  • Denise Lugo

    “Claimed?!?” NO-SHE @ R-E-P-R-E-S-E-N-T-E-D @ FAIR!

    The television didn’t read “Shawna Forde-Claims to be FAIR Representative!” COME ON!!!

    They didn’t pick her out of the stinking audience for goodness sake! Be fair SPLC, you didn’t care about this case when I tried to get you to pay attention in January, now you want to protect these people after two people are DEAD, a child no less?!? How many more victims are there? And you want to cover up for these racists, these “volunteer KKK?”

    I’m starting to doubt this organization…BIG TIME!

  • TruthBrigade

    You know Casey, it’s just too bad no one listened to me a couple years ago when I was telling you about this. If you remember, I sent you video and documentation, including written statements that minutemen were in fact shooting people at the border, including me and Viking AND working with the so called other side, including the cartels.
    So, given the fact that SPLC has the ability to at least publicize and assist in legal maneuvers, it is my belief that this is partially your fault that it has escalated to this level.
    I know I’m just a psycho blonde who had no credibility thanks to places like this and people working to discredit the truth I knew long ago, but now don’t you wish someone would have listened?
    I certainly do. There was no excuse for this and no excuse for the complacency of SPLC and law enforcement all this time.
    Just think of Brisenias beautiful face and the fact that she could still be here. Now who has blood on their hands???

  • Susan Nelson

    This is the full 18 minute 911 audio of the Arivaca Arizona home invasion, provided by Arizona Starnet. Note that the victim says there was more then three people involved in this horrible hate crime. I am also wondering why national media has not reported on this.

  • Anita

    Shawna Forde and her friends have told so many lies about themselves they couldn’t see the truth if they wanted to:

  • loren

    What a surprise! A member of a hate group accused of violence.

  • Ken D.

    Hillbillie Sam, your information is incorrect, the was let into MCDC in:June of 06, terminated Febr. 07 when she showed tendencies that did not meet with the aproval of the ORG. Just like any other ORG, you don’t really know who someone really until you get to know them. That is what happened here, once they got to know her the let her go fast!

    She NEVER worked for Simcox, she was a “Volunteer’ In Washington State ONLY.

    Please get your facts correct prior to posting.

  • TL Winslow

    The whole U.S.-Mexico border problem is sad because if it weren’t for racism there is a permanent satisfying solution that I have been proposing. If only enough people would read it, it could happen, and nobody else has to die.

    Click my Website to read my proposal.Or Google “Megamerge Dissolution Solution”.

  • HIllbillie Sam

    Yeah, and Simcox isnt a thief! Give me a break-Forde is a white supremesist and she worked with Simcox for almost 2 years!