Friday, August 22, 2003

Bad blood on the border

A disturbing story that shows the problem of border militias in Arizona is getting worse all the time:
Men With Guns
Churches, human rights groups, border crossers, and civilian militias are mixing it up on the U.S.-Mexico border

"People were already being harassed by the Border Patrol, and now things have gotten even worse," says Jennifer Allen of the Tucson-based Border Action Network. Mexican Americans born and raised in the United States, she says, "used to go out hunting or hiking, but they've been dragged out of their tents and harassed to such a degree that they don't go out of the city anymore. And now these vigilantes are out there with the attitude that if you're brown and out in the desert, you must be an undocumented migrant. So even the residents are in danger because the vigilante groups are bringing people in that are racist and hunting for anyone with brown skin."

Border Action Network asserts that some militia members have openly consorted with out-of-state representatives of racist groups. One public meeting in May 2000 was attended not only by such local militia backers as Roger Barnett and Glenn Spencer, but also by two representatives from David Duke's National Organization for European American Rights and members of an Arkansas Klan group.

In the meantime, the debate rages over whether or not MEChA is racist. As if that were where the problem lay.

I'll weigh in on that issue again next week.

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