Arizona immigration attorney and activist fears for her life

EFE - 10/3/2002

TUCSON, Arizona - Immigration attorney and Arizona Human Rights Coalition president Isabel Garcia said she feared for her life after being labeled an enemy of the country by anti-immigration groups.

The anti-immigrant group American Patrol over the weekend held a meeting in the border town of Sierra Vista, Arizona, and called her a "traitor" who defends the "invaders" (illegal immigrants), the activist said.

A video made by a member of the coalition during the meeting was proof of what occurred, according to Garcia, who said she was considering asking the FBI to investigate.

American Patrol's Web site is packed with articles on illegal immigrants, particularly Mexicans who are "stealing" jobs from U.S. citizens, and cites dubious statistics to prove that illegal immigrants are a burden to taxpayers and the government.

A photograph of Garcia on the Web site identifies her as an enemy for being one of Arizona's staunchest advocates for immigrants' rights.

Garcia and the Human Rights Coalition have demonstrated several times to protest the deaths of illegal immigrants along the border, and were the first to report the "hunt" for illegals carried out by the Barnett brothers in Douglas, Arizona.

In 1999, a group of armed ranchers led by the Barnetts grabbed national attention when they began detaining illegal immigrants who crossed their ranch.

The group claims it has detained and turned over to the Border Patrol approximately 1,000 illegal immigrants.

"I'm not going to wait for them to send someone to beat me up and even kill me," Garcia told EFE, adding that she would continue her work with immigrants despite the threats.

"No one wants to listen to them, and it's imperative that our lawmakers in Washington understand the daily tragedies taking place along our border," Garcia said.