Skip to comments.Ranchers Sued by Civil Rights Group
Posted on 12/10/2003 8:04:34 PM PST by AnimalLover
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO PROPERTY RIGHTS?
A monastery official and a human rights advocacy group sued a southern Arizona ranch family Wednesday, accusing them of impersonating federal agents and violating the rights of undocumented immigrants.
Border Action Network, a human rights organization, and Donald J. Mackenzie, groundskeeper for and vice president of Summerland Monastery Inc., filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Roger Barnett; his wife, Barbara, and his brother, incorrectly identified as Ralph. The lawsuit will be amended to correct the name Ralph to Donald, attorney Jesus Romo said.
The civil action accuses the Barnetts of conspiracy to interfere with the civil rights of immigrants and seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions against them.
Reached at the office of a towing company he operates in Sierra Vista, Barnett said he was unaware of the lawsuit and declined to comment.
For at least four years, the Barnetts have patrolled their 22,000-acre ranch about five miles north of Douglas, apprehending illegal immigrants crossing their property and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol.
Arizona has become a crossing point for hundreds of thousands of migrants annually, and the flood of undocumented people has drawn several armed civilian groups that act as self-appointed border watch organizations.
The groups have come under increasing fire recently. One member of Texas-based Ranch Rescue was arrested last month near Douglas on suspicion of felony flight to avoid prosecution, accused with another person of unlawfully detaining and beating a Salvadoran couple in Texas.
None of the civilian patrol groups was named in the lawsuit.
But Border Action Network announced during the summer that it hoped to sue on behalf of migrants allegedly victimized by organizations patrolling the border - with hopes of bankrupting them. Jennifer Allen, the network's director, called Wednesday's lawsuit a start.
"We have been working with border residents, ranchers, elected officials and with migrants to challenge the growth of the anti-immigrant movement along the Arizona-Mexico border," she said.
"The Barnetts and other vigilante groups have created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation for both migrants and community members."
She said many state and federal authorities have ignored border watch groups' activities.
Allen said Roger and Donald Barnett detained a group of 30 undocumented immigrants on Mackenzie's ranch.
Mackenzie said he initially thought Roger Barnett was a Border Patrol agent because of his weaponry and clothing, including a cap that said "U.S. Border Patrol."
Mackenzie said in talking with them, he discovered the Barnetts were not federal agents but did not challenge their presence or report them later. He said he never gave the Barnetts permission to enter the property.
Mackenzie said he got more concerned and angrier as he subsequently researched the issue.
"These vigilantes who have come into southern Arizona from out-of-state don't belong here," he said. "We don't need them here. The Rambo wannabes are not the kind of people that live in Arizona."
Allen and Romo said they did not have identities or statements from any of the 30 people allegedly involved in the Oct. 11 Summerland Monastery incident.
A spokesman for the Border Patrol said the agency does not disclose information on citizen calls that result in arrests.
On the Net:
Border Action Network: http://www.borderaction.org
What is driving me insane is this big push for ILLEGALS yet referring to them as immigrants.
Just like the new Assembly Speaker in California - Nuez(?) who plans to "terminate the terminator" because our Governor signed SB 60 cancelling the drivers licenses for illegals.
What can We the People do? I have written to Tom Ridge, our senators and congressmen/women and no one has bothered to answer. Any ideas?
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
I'm going to rob a bank later and ask Tom Ridge if that can be made legal, too.
No. Apparently the kind of people who live in Arizona aid and abet
I didn't know IllegalImmigrants had rights.
What's that? A new car from Detroit?
Isn't that what you're supposed to do? According to the law. Or am I missing something?
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