Profiles of 20 Nativist Leaders
Los Angeles, Calif.
Filmmaker Brook Young makes his home in Los Angeles, where he says he is "surrounded by suspected illegal aliens." Video camera ever in hand, Young is known in anti-immigration circles as "The Watchdog" for his ubiquitous presence at Southern California's steady stream of protests and street theater sponsored by nativist and pro-immigrant forces alike.
His website, ImmigrationWatch, features Young's edited footage as well as immigration-related newscasts and several videos like "Commies Get Beat Down," which depict pro-immigrant protesters either behaving badly or being victimized — sometimes both. Another video posted on his site, "The Legacy of Madeline Cosman," is a tribute to the deceased attorney who passed herself off as a medical and immigration expert, attaining fame in nativist circles for her claims that Mexican immigrants are spreading leprosy and raping children and nuns.
Although Young makes videos in conjunction with the leaders of Save Our State and the San Diego Minutemen, he claims not to be a member of either organization. "I am an active participant in the anti-illegal immigration movement but I like to think of myself as 'independent' and not a member of any specific anti-illegal immigration group," he states on his website.
Young has twice appeared as a guest commentator on the Fox News show, "Hannity & Colmes." "I think [the] overwhelming majority of Mexicans believe that this country, this land, was stolen from them," Young said during his second appearance in December 2006. "We have people … sneaking across our borders that are calling us racist and stealing our jobs."
Last year, Young was interviewed by KNBC-TV of Los Angeles. He claimed a child prostitution ring was being operated by Mexican immigrant workers who live in makeshift camps in a valley north of San Diego. The actual footage compiled by Young failed to show anything more incriminating than migrants walking in and out of a tree grove. San Diego police said their own stakeouts of the canyon failed to reveal any illegal activity.
Young's most famous on-camera moment took place in a scene he didn't get to film. In September, Young attended a Save Our State protest held outside a Simi Valley church that was providing sanctuary to an undocumented immigrant and her infant son. Young got into a scuffle with immigrant activist Naui Huitzilopochtli that ended with Young pepper-spraying the activist. Photos of Huitzilopochtli in obvious agony are now widespread on the websites of both immigrant advocates and nativist groups. Both sides use the images to support arguments for the violence of their opposition. Huitzilopochtli claims the police mistreated him, failing to offer him aid. Young, despite being the one who fired the pepper spray, claims he was the victim of a hate crime. But in an ironic postscript, Young says he hasn't pressed charges because he's been unable to find any video of the incident.