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Stop the FTAA!  
  PlaceHolder for
Mexico’s Cross-Border Meddling
William Norman Grigg

The New American, October 8, 2001


Last year, Mexico’s National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) demanded that the United Nations Human Rights Committee investigate supposed “human rights” abuses against illegal immigrants to the United States. The Mexican government’s complaint focused upon Douglas, Arizona, a small border town that has literally been under siege by illegal immigrants.

A Border Patrol clamp-down on several popular border crossings had the effect of funneling illegal immigrants through Douglas County “at a rate of hundreds of thousands a year,” reported the February 17th New York Times. Rancher Ira Ackerman complained that the border resembled “Grand Central Station. You don’t know when you’re going to come across a group of 50 or 60 people out in the desert.” “When my brother bought his ranch five years ago, it was pristine,” recalled Douglas resident Don Barnett. “You could ride a horse along a mountain crest, or pick up arrowheads. Now it’s a garbage pit. There’s plastic, tin cans, and [bodily waste] everywhere you look. Old blankets, cut hoses, cut fences. You name it, illegals’ll do it.” With the Border Patrol already stretched to the limit, some local ranchers formed posses in order to protect their property.

The Mexican government, which has never been accused of delicacy in its treatment of illegal immigrants on its own southern border, cobbled together a media campaign accusing residents of Douglas County of “hunting Mexicans like they were animals. They shot at the feet of some, the heads of others, and some have been killed. Those that they didn’t shoot at, they were siccing packs of dogs on.”

But the Mexican media campaign had the desired effect: It demonized American citizens whose sole “offense” was to defend their homes and provide desperately needed help to those officials charged with enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. “We feel that people who are being forced to sleep with one ear to the door and one eye open, in order to protect their property and their families from harm, are being labeled as some kind of radical group,” protested Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

The Mexican regime was not satisfied to denigrate Douglas residents as racists. In May 2000, the NCHR requested that UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson intervene. “We must prevent an atmosphere of growing intolerance and exclusion motivated by incidents in Arizona spreading to other places, with serious risk of there being a climate of lynching and death,” wrote NCHR official Soberanes Fernandez. Mexico also urged that the UN, along with the governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, “collaborate with us immediately so as to intervene in preventing the proliferation of such feelings and behavior as those which took place in the state of Arizona.”

In June 2000, Mexican Foreign Minister Rosario Green announced that the Mexican government had hired a U.S. law firm to prepare a lawsuit against any ranchers who had detained illegal Mexican immigrants. (On several occasions, posse members had executed citizen’s arrests and detained the law-breakers pending the arrival of Border Patrol agents). “We, as the government of Mexico, can bring suit, with proof, against those who have violated the rights and dignity of Mexico,” thundered Green. “We will take this as far as we have to.” Within a few years this could mean seeking an indictment of American ranchers before the UN’s planned International Criminal Court.

Such behavior is to be expected from the Mexican “government,” which is actually just the congealed crust of corruption atop that nation’s system of organized crime. The official federal reaction to the situation in Douglas is more remarkable. When supporters of immigration reform gathered in Douglas in October 2000 to help the victimized ranchers restore their damaged homes and lands, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) issued an “Officer Safety Bulletin” warning that these Good Samaritans constituted “an anti-immigration hate group.”

The five-page bulletin listed immigration reform groups such as Concerned Citizens of Cochise County (CCCC), the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR), and the California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR) alongside indisputable hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and former Klan leader David Duke’s National Organization for European American Rights (NOFEAR).

“You can see this document was not done by anyone working here on the border,” commented Chief Patrol Agent David Aguilar of the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, to whom the memo was addressed. “Someone in Washington, with limited knowledge of our situation here, wrote this thing. And they got it all wrong. I know these groups [such as CCCC, FAIR, and CCIR]. Some of my friends are in these groups. These people are not anti-immigrant, and are not hate groups.”

Among the supposed “terrorists” was CCCC member David Stoddard, a retired Border Patrol supervisor. “I deeply resent the inference that we are a hate group,” protested Stoddard. “I think it’s a sad day when our government attacks its citizens for exercising their constitutional right to criticize their government.”


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