Thursday, January 19, 2006

Roger Barnett, AZ Vigilante, Welcome Tancredo Supporter

Tancredo has said of his political contributors, "If they want to send me money, that's their business."

Meet welcomed Tom Tancredo campaign contributor, Roger Barnett, who says he first became aware of the illegal immigrant problem in 1998, when they kept leaving trails and trash across his property.

I do think that illegals crossing and trashing private property is not right (though the property is 80% leased public land), and that there needs to be a solution to the problem. I disagree with Tancredo's and Barnett's solutions.

Mr. Barnett, frustrated at the border policy, has taken to hunting Mexicans (his brother, Don, has a stuffed polar bear). He claims to simply round them up and turn them over to Border Patrol, a catch and release hunt. But his anger and frustration may have sent him over the edge.

In 2000, two years into his human hunt, Roger "reportedly threw one of the migrants to the ground and threatened him. More than once, the brothers have taken their activities beyond the confines of the ranch to capture migrants traveling on a nearby public road." He's not actually a Border Patrol Officer, so he doesn't get to do that.

But here's what he had to say of his experiences in 2004, when he claimed to have apprehended 12000 in 6 1/2 years.

Question: Have you felt endangered?

Barnett: Oh, yeah. Several times you can just feel the hate in their eyes and you don't want to turn your back on them or they would hurt you. They're illegals. We don't get hold of mules [drug runners], I mean they run so much faster... I yell at them and they don't stop a bit. I've only caught one - scared the shit out of him so bad he passed out on the side of a mountain.


Question: Do you put these people at gunpoint when you catch them?

Barnett: Don't need to. Generally they give up. With authority, you just tell them to sit down, and they sit down.

He makes it sound like what he's doing is so benign, but he does pack heat, and he wears a faux Border Patrol outfit (his says Patriot Patrol), and reportedly commits assault and kidnapping. Four years earlier, he was a known problem:
[Cochise County Sheriff] Dever...says that nobody wants to move against the Barnetts unless the case is bulletproof. The Barnetts have been careful so far about not stepping too far over the line - or at least careful not to leave evidence when they do, he says.

In 2005, Roger was sued for abusing, at gunpoint, some of those passive Mexicans who think they're being apprehended by actual law enforcement.

The ten Mexican plaintiffs, 5 women and 5 men, say that the sinister Barnetts assaulted them at gun point, battered them and threaten them with death while resting at a wash in Douglas, Arizona. Roger Barnett held the group captive at gunpoint and threaten that his dog would attack or that he would shoot anyone who tried to leave. During the assault, Roger Barnett kicked a female plaintiff as she was lying on the ground.

There have also been murdered and lynched Mexicans found near his ranch. Yes, it's a nasty implication.

However, besides being a trophy hunter, Roger Barnett is also a businessman, so he should recognize that the border problem is not an issue of crime to be solved with guns and walls. It is an economic problem for both the U.S. and Mexico. If he wants a more effective solution, he should really be lobbying to overturn NAFTA.

...Since NAFTA, unemployment in these areas has risen. In Douglas, right across the line from Agua Prieta, Sonora, the unemployment rate is 17 percent, up from 13 percent in 1990. Ironically, the Douglas economy depends on shoppers from Agua Prieta crossing the line to patronize American stores. Most popular is a newly constructed Wal-Mart.

NAFTA has led to a doubling of the Mexican poverty rate, and U.S.-run businesses in Mexico which pay less are shutting down Mexican-run businesses; U.S. agribusiness has put many Mexican farmers out of work. But those U.S. businesses have made out great. In 1999, they made $5 billion on Mexican investments. Not much of a businessman, to care so little about economic interests.

Makes me wonder if this is why he leased all that land on the border.

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