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

Border Watch Group to Form ‘Private Military Company’

By Larry Keller on April 23, 2010 - 12:54 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

Bill Davis, the founder of an Arizona border vigilante group called the Cochise County Militia [motto: “Doing the job our Government refuses to do!”] has taken pride in recent years over what he says is the group’s responsible and safe surveillance of Mexicans coming illegally into the United States. “To this day, it is the most effective, safest and active of the border watch groups,” the group’s website claimed last year. “We have a perfect safety record since 2001 with nobody hurt while attending a Border Event!”

Now Davis is aiming to take a harder line at the border. On Monday, he told supporters via email that his Tombstone-based militia will be forming a PMC — a private military company, which is “completely legal!!!”

Davis said he prefers combat veterans for his venture but will consider others. There is no pay. “We can be considered paramilitary, but not vigilantes, mercenaries, etc.,” Davis wrote in the email. That’s in sharp contrast to his website’s discussion of weapons, which says that “we don’t want to appear as a para-military group in any way.”

Davis didn’t respond to a phone message or email from Hatewatch as to why he changed his mind about becoming a paramilitary group and whether doing so could increase the chances of somebody being shot. But he told Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star that the philosophical shift was due to frustration at calling the Border Patrol when smugglers or others were spotted, only to see them get away. His paramilitary unit will stop border crossers as needed, he said.

Aggressive tactics such as those have backfired on others. The Southern Poverty Law Center sued a border vigilante group called Ranch Rescue in 2003 after some members detained two immigrants they caught trying to enter Texas illegally, allegedly striking one of the immigrants in the back of his head with a handgun. Both were released after an hour or so. One of the Ranch Rescue members had to forfeit to the immigrants a 70-acre paramilitary training compound, complete with obstacle courses and a firing range, in order to settle a judgment against him. He also was charged with being a felon in possession of a gun and sentenced to five years in prison. The owner of the ranch on whose property the immigrants had trespassed also was a defendant in the civil suit and settled for $100,000.

Davis told the Daily Star that his group will operate legally either on private property or public lands. He didn’t say how many people have signed up for the troop, but added, “They all have confirmed kills, from Vietnam or later on.”

  • Jim Lawrence

    My opinion is that the National Guard should be on the border with Mexico with loaded weapons but the regular army should be in Mexico to knock out the drug smugglers and bandits. Having said that; Any milita units should be very closely monitored by the state gonernments to make sure rights are not violated by these units. They should have difinative responsibiliities.
    Those who are against such units should be very cautious in their statements. It is very easy to make statements that have no basis of fact or worse are simply lies to stir up those who read this blog.

  • Johnny

    As a member of the U.S. Military (current active duty for 4 years now), all I can say is that anyone who talks politics on this subject is wrong. People are dying on both sides. There is a war going on, whether you want to see it or not. Due to the US Posse Comitatus Act which makes us about the only country in the world which outlawed its own military in its own country, these militias, local police, state police, private security and military companies, and other armed citizens are the only defense we have.

    In case nobody has ever heard, IEDs have already been discovered along the border. You can all talk politics and moral authority, budgets and economics. Do you honestly think the Cartels care? They care about a profit from drugs, instability, bribes, human trafficking, and other crimes. They will kill any one of YOU on this forum without thinking twice about it. In the end, bad people with guns can only be solved one way, by good people with more powerful, bigger guns and better scopes.

  • Larry

    I am glad to hear that most of the people who left comments will not be coming to Arizona. But I guess you don’t care how the lack of immigration inforcement has inpacted the border states. All you listen to is the seven second propaganda that the government spews. You don’t have drug runners crashing your or your neighbors fence. You don’t have illegals killing your cattle and draining your water tanks in a desert. You don’t have the Mexican government paying for law suites against your state citizens. You don’t have hundreds of school children coming over the border daily to come to a school system that their parents don’t pay for BUT YOU DO. You don’t have illegal alien gang members crossing into your county to KILL your your resident.
    Maybe you people should REALLY look at what is going on, not just listening to the government propagandest machines and BLINDLY following a political party.

  • chris

    okay first of all to you people claiming u will never visit arizona we truly dont care we dont want u here anyways
    and to be blunt and to the point the immigration law that we passed has already been a federal law for many years
    thats all there is to it

  • sean

    the conservatives ain’t crying about race? man….what rock have you been living under these last few years!….race wedge issues are the conservatives best friend these days….every election year they drag out the lets “blame the illegal mexicans” for all of americas problems instead of campaigning with creative and intelligent solutions to the countries many problems.just look at all those conservative tea party people and the anti obama signs picturing him as a monkey or head hunter!…i have never seen a president so disrespected by the right in my life….and if you don’t think that its not about race then you are out of touch with reality my friend.listen to all the right wing radio stations these days and you will here all the racial poison that they spew out on a daily basis….but i guess in the eyes of the hypocrite conservatives thats not bringing out the race card! if it looks like a duck,walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…..its a DUCK!!

  • Jim

    Wow, that was really boring.
    Let me give you some civics insight to chew on. The biggest reason we still have a so called civil right racism problem in this country is due to the liberals keeping it alive. Everyone in this country has the same opportunities as everyone else, no matter what color. The Conservatives aren’t talking about race. But everytime someone doesn’t want to take responsibility for making a better life for themselves they cry racism. There was once a need for afirmitive action in this country but that time has long since passed. If the libs would stop spewing the reverse racist rederic people would be forced to stop leaning on it as an excuse.