Grijalva: Have FBI probe alleged militia-racist link
Rep.-elect denounces patrols; they call his bigotry charges 'lies'
Dec. 19, 2002
Vigilante group hurting towns' images, business, residents say
Congressman-elect Raúl Grijalva says his first official act will be to ask the FBI to investigate alleged links between civilian militias in southern Arizona and white supremacist groups.
'If you shine the light on the cockroaches, they don't like it," Rep.-elect Raúl Grijalva says at a press conference yesterday in calling for an investigation of citizen patrols, which he says are racist. LUKE TURF/Tucson Citizen
"If you shine the light on the cockroaches, they don't like it," Grijalva said at a press conference yesterday hosted by Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, a group that advocates for illegal immigrants.
"The more we ignore it, the more it's going to fester," said Grijalva, who will be the first representative from the new Congressional District 7, which stretches from Tucson to Yuma.
Grijalva also said he wants a "declarative condemnation" of the militias by the U.S. Border Patrol.
Border Patrol spokesman Ryan Scudder said the militias have the same right to operate and to speak their mind as Derechos Humanos. However, Border Patrol doesn't issue opinions on specific groups.
Grijalva spoke out against the Sierra Vista-based American Border Patrol, Texas-based Ranch Rescue and the Civil Homeland Defense, organized by Tombstone newspaper publisher Chris Simcox.
Grijalva said he believes all three organizations are racist.
A report released yesterday by the Tucson-based Border Action Network alleges that groups such as the American Border Patrol are local fronts for neo-Nazi groups such as the St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens.
The report says such groups provided funding to local vigilante groups but no specific amounts are given.
Glenn Spencer of the American Border Patrol said claims that his group is connected to racist organizations are "absolute lies."
Simcox challenged Grijalva to "prove it," and said the congressman-elect should instead investigate "why the borders are wide open."
Simcox said Grijalva is trying to deflect attention from the real issue, which is how illegal immigrants are sticking taxpayers with the bill for emergency health care and other social services.
Ranch Rescue spokesman Jack Foote couldn't be reached for comment.
Ranch Rescue has sent armed patrols onto private property in southern Arizona, and Simcox said his group plans to start patrolling private and public property along the border next month.
The American Border Patrol uses electronic equipment to monitor illegal immigrant traffic along the border. Isabel Garcia of Derechos Humanos said that group may be working with the U.S. Border Patrol because two former U.S. patrol agents now work for the American Border Patrol.
Scudder denied there was a link.
"We don't have anything to do with them," Scudder said. "They're retired agents. They have no access, they have no official connections with the U.S. Border Patrol."
Grijalva said his second priority in Washington will be asking for congressional hearings on border problems that would be held near the border.
Grijalva, a Democrat, toured southern Arizona's border with Mexico earlier this month with three other members of Arizona's congressional delegation: U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl and U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, all Republicans.
The group afterward agreed border issues must receive higher priority in Washington.
Grijalva said yesterday that a statement from President Bush denouncing the militias also would "do a great deal."
Letters to the Editor
Tucson Citizen Dec. 24, 2002
Grijalva 1 - Race card is trumped
Going by Raúl Grijalva's record as an elected official, I didn't think he had the capacity to serve all the people in the new Congressional District 7.
Recent events have reinforced this assumption. The Dec. 19 Citizen article - "Grijalva: Have FBI probe alleged militia-racist link" - expounds on Grijalva's views that any efforts made by private citizens to protect their property from illegal immigrants are racist. Bear in mind this claim is being made by a person who set up refreshment stands along the border so illegal immigrants can have a cool drink as they break our laws.
Grijalva needs to realize taxpayers are just plan tired of being suckered into paying for all the freebies the illegal immigrants get when they cross our borders without permission. There is nothing racist about being good stewards of our limited assets.
- DANNY GRAVES
Grijalva 2 - His stance is racist
Congressman-elect Raúl Grijalva says his first official act will be to ask the FBI to investigate alleged links between civilian militias in Southern Arizona and white supremacist groups.
This begs the question of just where Grijalva's loyalties lie. It appears that Grijalva chooses to side with a Mexican activist group (Derechos Humanos) rather than ask why "his countrymen" fear for their property and lives from illegal aliens - Grijalva's constituency.
Grijalva views himself as a defender of Mexico and other foreign illegal aliens. Is he also a supporter of La Raza, the militant Mexican activist group that would overthrow the state governments of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in favor of the Republic of Mexico?
Grijalva's request seems strange. Meanwhile, he panders for the rights of thousands of illegal entrants that storm our Arizona border and steal our tax contributions for health and welfare services intended for legal residents.
Grijalva seems to be the real racist here, one who foments fear and hatred against his own countrymen.
- ROGER EMERY
Grijalva 3 - He deserves gratitude
I am so grateful to Raúl Grijalva for calling for immediate investigations of the racist hate groups that have invaded our communities.
These people arm themselves, take the law into their own hands, go out in groups with night vision scopes to hunt human beings for sport, stir up fear and promote violence for months, and then ask us to believe they are not racist?
We will not tolerate racism in the Senate, as Trent Lott found out. Why would we tolerate it here in Arizona? Racism and vigilante violence have no place in our community.
- SUSAN THORPE
Grijalva 4 - He shows leadership
This week has pointed out how fortunate we are to have had the sense to elect someone like Raúl Grijalva to Congress. When Trent Lott, a national leader, shows his true colors of holding on to old-fashioned Southern racism and Arizonans have to deal with the stereotype of being a lawless wild west territory of vigilantism, it's encouraging and refreshing to know that our newly elected congressman will have none of it.
Thankfully, he will help us move beyond these setbacks and move forward together.
- NANCY MYERS
Grijalva 5 - He should resign
U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva's comments about civilian border patrols warrant only one answer. He needs to resign his elected post and get a life elsewhere, not here in the United States, but in Mexico.
Grijalva needs to be reminded illegal border crossers break the law. That's the bottom line. If you encourage or support it, you break the law.
Chris Simcox is right: Illegal border crossers are costing hard-working citizens, hospitals, etc., millions of dollars, it has to be stopped.
My suggestion to Grijalva, and anyone else who wants to solve the problem of illegal border crossers, is to move to Mexico, get yourself elected and fix their broken-down system.
The only real cockroaches are the border crossers and those who would support these illegal crossings.
- EDWARD W. JUNQUIST
Grijalva 6 - Motives are suspect
Seeing Congressman-elect Raúl Grijalva in joint appearances with Isabel Garcia, Pima County Public Defender and chief spokesperson for Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, identified as an advocate group for illegal immigrants, making an outcry to have the FBI investigate citizen border patrol groups he believes might have white supremacist ties, makes me wonder if he had motives running for Congress other than representing the people of Congressional District 7.
Previously known as an environmentalist, Grijalva seems more concerned with having "free and open borders," rather than the destruction left in Southern Arizona National Parks and ranch lands as undocumented aliens defecate in arroyos, leave garbage strewn over acres of land and trespass and break-into private residents and property.
As Derechos Hermanos advocates that current U.S. policies force illegal immigration into these rural areas, I'm left to think they want them freely to be driven up I-19 without checkpoints as the method to prevent them from fleeing to rural routes. I've not heard them suggest positive alternatives to alleviate this destruction of property.
Grijalva needs to take up causes that protect his constituents, like protecting our environment and safety rather than giving himself a forum to publicly seek the safe movement of undocumented Mexican immigrants into the U.S.
- JODI SMITH
Grijalva 7 - He ignores the invasion
Congressman-elect Raúl Grijalva is denouncing the so-called vigilante groups as racist. Interesting position for him to take, considering his involvement with Isabel Garcia and the separatist group MECHA, whose goal is to "reconquer" a mythical Aztec territory called Aztlan, which, of course, is the Southwestern United States.
Grijalva views private citizens who protect their properties from unlawful invasion as racists. Why? Could it be that the invaders happen to be Hispanics? It would be more appropriate for Grijalva to investigate means for stopping this invasion, for reimbursing the United States institutions, public and private, and its citizens who bear the brunt of this invasion, fiscally and emotionally. Let him not forget he is elected to the United States Congress, not some Mexican government or pseudogovernment agency.
- EGILS H. KROLLS