Commentary: I have read all sorts of liberal tear jerking propaganda in regards to the illegal ALIEN infestation of Arizona, but this left wing loony takes the cake! Congratulations Billie, I see you have followed the style guide to writing a sensitive immigrant story to the letter. First of all, they are not illegal immigrants; they are illegal “Aliens”. An immigrant belongs here, an Alien does not. Therefore, they are “Alienated”. Get it? Secondly, why must you tearful wanna be do gooders insist on calling them hispanic? Hispanics come from Spain or of Latin origin. What is coming across our border in droves are spanish speaking Indians. The political correctness of people like the writer and her ilk, irks me to my last nerve. Their PC outlook and mindset is the basis of the problems we have in this state and country. If but only we had the very same immigration policy that Mexico implements, illegal immigration to the U.S. would be a frivolous inconvenience. Maybe someone should inform Ms. Stanton that the United States already protects, “everyone, of every race”. If you or I were to be the victim of a crime in Mexico, we would have no rights and certainly nobody out to provide us with justice. If you or I were to be deemed by the Mexican government to be in their country illegally, the best we could hope for would be an immediate expulsion. Most likely we would be held by the corrupt government for ransom until our next of kin could ante up. Unlike our “friends” south of the border, The U.S. is the only country to grant EVERYBODY, even those here illegally the same constitutional rights afforded it’s citizens. That MUST change. One thing we can both agree on is the fact that Arizona appears to be ground zero in respect to the invasion of our southern border by Mexico. Therefore, it only stands to reason that Arizona would be the epicenter of the animosity that is held for these invaders. I agree with the writer in the respect that racism is coming into play here, as is only natural when dealing with an overwhelming force bent on drastically changing our economic vitality not to mention the social values of our country.
Stanton: No one safe from border hate crimes
With anti-illegal immigrant forces roiling, Arizona now has a dubious distinction.
More hate crimes are investigated here than anywhere else by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Montgomery, Ala.-based center first won renown for probing race-based crimes in the South.
Alas, the South has got nothing on us these days.
“We’re spending more energy covering Arizona than almost the rest of the country – much more than any other state,” reports SPLC Director of Investigations Michael Potok.
Law enforcement officials blame rival immigrant smugglers for last week’s violence against illegal immigrants.
But others say the anti-illegal immigrant hatred saturating southern Arizona cannot be discounted. At the very least, it enables these crimes to occur.
Thursday near Tucson, gunmen stopped a truckful of illegal immigrants, shot three to death and wounded a Guatemalan and a Mexican.
The attack came on the heels of a Wednesday night incident on the border near Sasabe, where 18 illegal immigrants were robbed at gunpoint by four heavily armed men wearing ski masks.
And both attacks echo another near Eloy on Jan. 27, in which four men confronted 12 illegal immigrants, killed an Eloy man and shot a teenager.
The Eloy assault was waged by four men – three whites and a Hispanic who spoke limited Spanish – who were wearing military-style berets and camouflage clothing, witnesses told authorities.
From Mexico City on Friday, Gov. Janet Napolitano vowed that the shooting deaths near Tucson would be thoroughly investigated.
Mexican officials had released a statement Friday demanding justice for the victims.
Law enforcement, as well as several humanitarian border workers, say these crimes surely were committed by rival smugglers or robbers seeking to take advantage of people migrating illegally.
Potok and Tucson lawyer Isabel Garcia aren’t so sure.
“If vigilantes are out there murdering people, no one’s safe. Some of these people are quite willing to point a gun in the face of a U.S. citizen, particularly if that citizen has brown skin,” says Potok.
“And the Barnett case showed that if you have brown skin, you better look out.”
Roger Barnett, who owns and leases 22,000 acres in southern Arizona, has bragged about capturing more than 10,000 people who crossed his land.
In November, an Arizona jury ordered him to pay $98,750 to a family of U.S. citizens whom he terrorized in 2004.
Ronald Morales had been hunting with his father, Arturo, and daughters, ages 9 and 11, and another 11-year-old girl, when Barnett confronted and threatened them Oct. 30, 2004, testimony showed.
Although a Cochise County sheriff’s deputy had evidence to charge Barnett with eight felony counts of aggravated assault, the county prosecutor declined to file charges.
Barnett and his brother, Donald, own a tow-truck company that contracts with the Border Patrol, and both are former sheriff’s deputies, the SPLC notes.
The case is the latest in a string of hate-based crimes against illegal immigrants.
Arizona’s border region has become an incubator for race-based hatred, attracting national attention, none of it flattering.
“I wouldn’t dismiss the notion that these are hate crimes,” says Garcia, a longtime humanitarian and lawyer for illegal immigrants.
“If it is vigilantes, I think they are trying to put fear in Mexicans and to throw all of us off to blame smugglers and continue to militarize this border.
“Most politicians will look at these incidents and say we need more agents, we need a virtual wall, and on and on.”
But it is the militarization of our border, begun in 1994, that has funneled illegal immigrants into a few narrow and extremely dangerous crossing routes.
Such “enforcement first” tactics clearly don’t thwart illegal immigration; they merely make aspiring immigrants more vulnerable, whether to criminals or deaths in our rugged desert.
Until Congress and President Bush enact a guest worker program, which would cut the need to immigrate illegally, Arizonans had best buckle their seat belts.
Violence against immigrants inevitably spills over onto U.S. citizens, too, as the Barnett case illustrates.
Unless we protect everyone, of every race, no one is safe.