Glenn Spencer, head of vehemently anti-immigrant hate group American Border Patrol announced plans on May 24 for his annual “Flags Along the Border BBQ” at his ranch just yards from the US/Mexico border in Heritage, Arizona. Not among Spencer and assumedly other anti-immigrant activists at the shindig will be U.S. Border Patrol, said Spencer in an interview with Hatewatch this week.
On his announcement flier, Spencer wrote “U.S. Border Patrol on Scene,” but clarified in an interview, saying that the US Border Patrol have a permanent location “which can be seen by anybody attending the event.” Spencer said they will “not be participating at all” in his event.
Spencer has spent the last 20 years stationed close to the US/Mexico border where he has set up cameras, flies aircraft and drones and uses other technology, all in an effort to draw attention to what he calls a hostile invasion. Spencer’s efforts, like those of other border vigilantes are cloaked in patriotism, but a look at his history shows he has spent decades working with white nationalists, anti-Semites and others on the radical right.
In 1998, he spoke in Cullman, Alabama, at anti-immigrant rally hosted by the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a racist group that has called blacks “a retrograde species of humanity.” The CCC were the organization Charleston terrorist Dylann Roof said was his gateway into white nationalism.
A former radio host, Spencer once interviewed Jared Taylor one of the most prominent white nationalists of the past quarter century and founder of the white nationalist journal American Renaissance. In 2002, Spencer spoke at Taylor’s then-bi annual American Renaissance gathering, which is among the most well-attended white nationalist events. Another Spencer radio guest was California State University, Long Beach, Professor Kevin MacDonald, who is the architect of an elaborate anti-Semitic theory dressed up as evolutionary biology.
In recent years, Spencer has been interviewed on multiple occasions by the blatantly anti-Semitic American Free Press (AFP), a publication founded by longtime anti-Semite Willis Carto which carries stories on Zionism, secret "New World Order" conspiracies, and thinly veiled vilification of American Jews and Israel.
Throughout the years, Spencer has not shied away from racist and anti-Semitic comments. In a 1996 letter to the Los Angeles Times, Spencer wrote that “Mexican culture is based on deceit” and that “Chicanos and Mexicanos lie as a means of survival.” In 1999 he wrote, "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 TV networks] Telemundo and Univision." He also promoted the idea of a “Reconquista” a conspiracy theory that Mexicans are coming to the U.S. to reconquer it. In 2001, he wrote on the ABP website, "Our country is being invaded by Mexico with hostile intentions. When it blows up, they can't say we didn't tell them, when the blood starts flowing on the border and in L.A. We're [talking] about la reconquista."
His anti-Semitism is also documented, in 2008, he wrote an article on his website with the title: "Is Jew-Controlled Hollywood Brainwashing Americans?" In it, he assured readers that he had Jewish friends but added: "I fear, however, that this small handful of patriotic Americans are far outnumbered by liberal Jews who now have total control over our media." When asked what the current relationship is between ABP and US Border Patrol, Spencer said, “I talk to Border Patrol agents, two or three times a day. Individual agents, and I rarely talk to anyone above that level.” On December 20 of 2016, Spencer demonstrated for a US Border Patrol agent his “Identicopter” drone, according to a video he put on YouTube. According to Spencer, a former chief agent at US Border Patrol served on ABP’s board of directors. Financial documents from 2013, the most recent year available, indicate that Chuck Floyd, who Spencer claims was a “presidential appointee for international embassy security and border security” is on the ABP board.
Ties between US Border Patrol and anti-immigrant groups is not a new development. In 2015, the civil rights organization Center for New Community published an in-depth report about collusion between Border Patrol and some of the most prominent nativist groups in the country. “Blurring Borders: Collusion between Anti-Immigrant Groups and Immigration Enforcement Agents” found, that “anti-immigrant leaders collude with some union leaders and DHS employees to inject negative biases into the broader immigration debate. Specifically, the anti-immigrant movement is actively engaged in (1) developing sources within these agencies and unions who are willing to leak data directly to them and in (2) cultivating spokespersons from within these unions who are willing to echo their messaging and to advocate for their policy goals.”
Under the Trump administration, this collusion will surely metastasize. Already three individuals who have worked with anti-immigrant groups have positions within DHS or the administration. The Border Patrol Union, which works closely with anti-immigrant groups, endorsed Trump in 2016, its first presidential endorsement ever. While Spencer may not be hosting Border Patrol at his event on July 2, the ties between the government agency and the organized nativist movement are steadily strengthening.