The Nativists

Around the country, an anti-immigration movement is spreading like wildfire. An array of activists is fanning the flames

GLENN SPENCER

AGE: 67

COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZ.

If there were a Paul Revere of the anti-immigration movement, it would be Glenn Spencer, a vitriolic Mexican-basher who may have done more than anyone to spread the myth of a secret Mexican conspiracy to reconquer the Southwest.

The so-called reconquista, an alleged plot to turn several American states into a Mexican state or some kind of puppet government controlled by Mexico, has been a top concern for Spencer for years. Back in 1999, he put it like this: "The consul general says Mexico is reconquering California. A Mexican intellectual suggests that anyone who doesn't like Mexicans should leave California. What else do you need to hear? RECONQUISTA IS REAL... . EVERY ILLEGAL ALIEN IN OUR NATION MUST BE DEPORTED IMMEDIATELY. ... IF WE CAN BOMB THE TV STATION IN BELGRADE [in the former Yugoslavia] WE CAN SHUT DOWN [U.S. Spanish-language stations] TELEMUNDO AND UNIVISION."

Spencer got involved in the anti-immigration movement in 1992, when he formed Voice of Citizens Together, also known as American Patrol, in California. In 2002, saying the battle was lost in that state, he moved to the "front lines" of the Arizona border, where he formed American Border Patrol. He was one of the first to call for border citizens' patrols and pioneered the use of surveillance technology.

He also was one of the first well-known anti-immigration activists to more or less openly court white supremacists and anti-Semites. He has attended conferences of American Renaissance magazine, which specializes in racist theories about blacks and others. He interviewed the magazine's editor, Jared Taylor, on his syndicated radio show. Another guest was California State Professor Kevin MacDonald, who is the architect of an elaborate anti-Semitic theory dressed up as evolutionary biology.

Just this September, Spencer promoted on his Web site a booklet published by Taylor called The Color of Crime. The booklet is a "relentlessly factual" study that alleges that blacks and Hispanics are far more likely than whites to be criminals. It also falsely alleges people of color commit vastly more hate crimes than others.

Sometimes, Spencer's racial paranoia seems to get the better of him. One night in 2003, thinking he was hearing noises outside his Sierra Vista, Ariz., home, he grabbed a gun and started shooting into the dark. He managed to hit a neighbor's garage, among other things, and was charged with four felonies. But charges like that have a habit of going away in Southeastern Arizona. In Spencer's case, his felony charges were reduced to one misdemeanor. He was fined $2,500 and given a year's probation. His lease was also terminated and he was forced to move away, taking up residence in a trailer in unincorporated Cochise County.