'Blood on the Border': Anti-Immigrant Violence Looms
Much of hard-line anti-immigrant movement today goes back to efforts in California to pass Proposition 187, which would have expelled illegal aliens from public schools and ended their access to benefits other than emergency medical treatment.
With the indispensable support of several key groups — in particular, Spencer's VCT and Barbara Coe's California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR) — Prop 187 was approved in 1994 with 60 percent of the vote.
But in 1998, after years of court battles, the proposition was struck down, dealing a body blow to the mainstream anti-immigration movement.
It was later that year that VCT, CCIR and the more mainstream Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) began working with the racist CCC. Coe, Spencer and Rick Oltman, FAIR's western regional representative, all came to Cullman, Ala., to speak at a 1998 anti-immigrant rally hosted by CCC.
The event, held to protest a swelling population of Mexican workers in the region, ended with the arrest of one of the rally's organizers. He was charged with violating a local ordinance regulating outdoor fires by burning a Mexican flag.
Vinson, for his part, began writing regular articles that year on the perils of immigration for the CCC's newspaper. Around the same time, Spencer began selling his videotape in full-page ads in the same paper.
(The CCC's racism, it should be noted, is not subtle. One recent commentary on the Florida CCC chapter's Web site, posted alongside a photo of an asylum-seeker, went like this: "THIS WORTHLESS, DIRT POOR, HAITIAN LEACH [sic] and her 3 BRATS have ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to be in this COUNTRY... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!")
In July 1999, the CCC organized an immigration panel at its semi-annual conference, held that summer in Washington, D.C. Speaking at the conference, where books with titles like The Aryan Race were offered for sale, were some key new luminaries of the anti-immigrant right: Vinson, Spencer and Lutton.
Also in 1999, Spencer sent copies of his remarkable video to every member of Congress. Hand-delivering the videos was Bettina McCann — the fiancée of the National Alliance's "military coordinator," neo-Nazi Steven Barry.
Picking the Scab
In January 2000, David Duke, having recently abandoned attempts to appear nonracist, launched a new group he called the National Organization for European American Rights (NOFEAR). Explaining his new group's concerns at the National Press Club, Duke said, "If the present immigration rates continue ... the European-American people will basically be lost as an entity."
Within a month, Duke was in Siler City, N.C., to tell about 100 people at an anti-immigration rally that they were losing their way of life to Hispanics who had come to work in local chicken-processing plants. The rally was organized by the National Alliance.
Last May, after national publicity surrounding Arizona rancher Roger Barnett's armed "arrests" of hundreds of illegals crossing his land, many anti-immigration groups came to Sierra Vista, Ariz., to back Barnett and others. Co-sponsoring the meeting were Spencer, Oltman and Coe (who referred to foreigners as "illegal alien savages").
Also attending, supposedly unbeknownst to the organizers, were two representatives of NOFEAR and unrobed members of an Arkansas Klan group. A Klan flier appeared on cars before the gathering.
In September, Spencer also traveled east to speak to a Long Island, N.Y., outfit called Sachem Quality of Life, a local anti-immigration group. His visit came just weeks after two Mexican day laborers were badly beaten in a warehouse, allegedly by white supremacists.
A few days after Spencer gave a fiery speech, a member of the Sachem group was arrested for threatening a local Hispanic family.
Spencer is active in other ways, as well. He hosts a syndicated radio show, "American Patrol Report," airing in 19 markets. He has interviewed Jared Taylor; former John Birch Society member Ezola Foster, Buchanan's running mate in the 2000 election; Kevin MacDonald, a California State University professor who sees Jews behind U.S. immigration policies; and colleagues Coe and Oltman.
'Blood on the Border'
In October, another anti-immigration delegation traveled to Arizona to lend its support to Roger Barnett, the controversial rancher who reportedly told a British newspaper that "tracking humans ... is the biggest thrill."
This time it was a group known as Ranch Rescue, organized last summer by a Texan named Jack Foote. Foote, a conspiracy-oriented anti-immigration activist, had promised to "put a stop to ... mass criminal trespass." When they arrived, Foote and a few followers spent time helping Barnett fix fences and "patrolling" his ranch.
Foote, who carried a large weapon and binoculars, has made a name for himself as a hard-liner. He reacted furiously, for instance, to an e-mail from a Mexican-American who accused him of racism.
"You and the vast majority of your fellow dog turds are ignorant, uneducated, and desperate for a life in a decent nation because the one you live in is nothing but a pile of dog shit made up of millions of worthless little dog turds like yourself," Foote wrote.
Finally, in December, the antigovernment separatist group known as the Republic of Texas (ROT) decided to "deploy" its "Texas Defense Forces" to part of the Mexican border to help "in controlling illegal border crossings."
ROT leader Daniel Miller said that any illegals who are intercepted in the operation planned for early this year "will be escorted back to the border and ordered to return."
That kind of talk bothers Miguel Escobar Valdéz.
Sitting in a drab, one-story building in Douglas, Ariz., not too far from Roger Barnett's ranch, the Mexican consul is leafing slowly through a lengthy report. Marked "CONFIDENTIAL," Escobar's report carries a title which leaves little to the imagination: "Incidents in Which Armed Private Citizens Threatened and Apprehended Individuals Presumed to be Undocumented Migrants."
One woman, the report says, was apparently fired on three times as she crossed a nearby ranch. Nine migrants say they were stopped by a local who fired half a dozen shots at them.
A group of 13 claims a rancher's wife set a German Shepherd on one of them while her husband held the rest at gunpoint. Armed ranchers forced two cars off a public road and held the 16 migrants in them until the Border Patrol showed up.
In incident after incident — 28 in all, just in this small sector of the border over 17 months — angry white ranchers allegedly used weapons and threats, and sometimes violence, to "arrest" illegal aliens.
"I am very worried about the situation," Escobar said slowly as he spoke of the growing potential of an anti-immigration movement with an increasingly racist and vigilante edge. "We are all afraid of more blood on the border."