Skip to comments.Vigilante or Minuteman? Rancher goes high-tech to nab immigrants, smugglers
Posted on 07/28/2002 8:25:40 AM PDT by Tancredo Fan
Vigilante or Minuteman? Rancher goes high-tech to nab immigrants, smugglers
By BILL HESS - 7/28/02
DOUGLAS -- Plans of a Californian to introduce a private citizen's border patrol into Cochise County are not new.
One area rancher who is already patrolling the border on his own says he welcomes the newcomers and thinks they are needed.
Some think Roger Barnett is a vigilante, handing out justice without the benefit of law.
Others see the man as a modern Minuteman, defending family, friends and property against intruders -- hundreds of would-be illegal immigrants and dozens of drug smugglers trying to use his ranch as an avenue north.
Barnett shrugs off being called a vigilante. "It doesn't apply to me. From what I've learned a vigilante goes out and captures them, has a trial and executes them."
Barnett's 22,000-acre ranch is just two miles from the U.S.-Mexico border -- a perfect pathway for those seeking to enter the United States illegally. He owns about 7,000 acres of the ranch and leases the rest from the State Land Department for grazing his 250 head of cattle.
Barnett actively seeks out trespassers on his property and then holds them for the U.S. Border Patrol.
In the past, he has been accused of threatening illegal immigrants with weapons. He has been investigated by county and federal officials, but no charges have been filed.
He also has been praised by county and federal officials for saving the lives of illegal immigrants by giving them water and food.
A soft-spoken man, who easily laughs and jokes, Barnett said he knows not to cross the line between legally protecting his property and taking the law into his own hands.
"From what I understand there is a special FBI investigator up in Phoenix waiting for me to do something to jump on me." Laughing, he added, "He's going to sit up there a long time."
Last year, Barnett said he and his family were responsible for turning over more than 2,100 illegal immigrants to the federal government. Since the first of this year, the number is 1,644. In the past couple of years, more than a ton of marijuana has been found on the ranch and turned over to the government, Barnett said.
The largest group of illegal immigrants he has held and turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol included 86 people and the largest number of drug smugglers was 18.
He combines the ways of the Old West and modern technology to patrol his property.
Born and raised in Bisbee, Barnett traces his family's connection to Cochise County to the late 1800s.
An experienced tracker, Barnett will spend hours following the footprints of trespassers. He learned some of his tracking skills from U.S. Border Patrol agents, he said.
Instead of a horse, Barnett is more apt to patrol the ranch on weekends in a pickup truck, with an all-terrain vehicle in the truck's bed to get into the more rugged land. A businessman with offices in Sierra Vista, Benson, Willcox, Tucson and Phoenix, Barnett said during the weekdays he stays at his Sierra Vista residence.
Even though he's away from the ranch, the search for trespassers doesn't stop. He has installed high-tech sensors along paths he knows smugglers and would-be immigrants use to make their way north.
Saturday, while riding along one of the many dirt roads that crisscross his property, a monitor in the truck would go off now and then.
Pointing out the driver's side window, Barnett would indicate where one of the 11 sensors is buried. An antenna that blends into the landscape extends from each sensor to send the alarm. The alert also goes off at the main ranch house.
The system provides a digital message telling Barnett which alarm was triggered and why.
"It's picked us up," Barnett said as the truck alarm sounded.
When a vehicle goes by a sensor, a number two appears. If it is people setting off the devices, the number one appears.
The 2-year-old system cost Barnett about $25,000 to install.
He decided to set up his own surveillance system when he came to believe the federal government just wasn't going to do the job. Most of the Border Patrol agents want to do their jobs but the agency's leadership won't let them, Barnett claims.
Barnett believes the United States should use troops to safeguard the border.
He is convinced that while most people living along the border understand the problem, the rest of the country has no idea what is happening.
Barnett supports Glenn Spencer's plan for an American Border Patrol. The Sherman Oaks, Calif., man is planning on moving to Cochise County in the next few weeks and establishing the patrol along the border.
Barnett said the organization will provide information to the people of the United States on what is really happening on the border.
Spencer will be bringing in a lot of high-tech equipment to be used in providing real time video of border incursions and will gather other information for the American people and law enforcement agencies, he said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center -- a well-known civil rights organization headquartered in Alabama -- lists Spencer's Voice of Citizens Together and American Patrol as hate groups.
The American Border Patrol is not listed. A new group, Spencer has stressed it is separate from his other enterprises. At the same time, Spencer is accepting contributions to the American Border Patrol through the American Patrol.
The Southern Poverty Law Center publication calls Spencer, "one of the hardest line anti-immigrant ideologues now operating."
Barnett said the Southern Poverty Law Center "probably considers me a hate group. What they come up with wouldn't surprise me a bit and I don't care. They are so far left of center it is unreal as far as I'm concerned."
Barnett said he hopes the people of Cochise County will give Spencer the opportunity to prove his value in controlling the border.
Barnett said he will support Spencer giving him the right to install hidden cameras on his property "as I believe all the ranchers will do."
"I think it might take a little while but it (the American Border Patrol) will go over. They (country residents) are still unsure, unclear of what he (Spencer) is going to do. But after they find out what will happen they will support it," Barnett said.
There are many who are "champing at the bit" waiting for Spencer to show up and start his operation on Sept. 1, he added.
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People around here would just advertise over in Mexico for people willing to to be caught and shipped back. I think you would have thousands of takers at $5 a head. It could get very expensive very quickly for the US gov't.
I have relatives in Bisbee and they told me about Barnett years ago. He is a hero to most in the area.
It would be useful to know who this "just following orders" lamebrain is.
When the explosion arrives, his whining must be put in the proper context.
The ordinary citizen hires policemen at all levels to do the job that they choose not to do individually.
When the mercenaries utterly fail to do their job (fraud and negligence), they have the temerity to threaten their employers.
A rude awakening is inevitable.
I find it impossible to imagine any excuse for total ineptitude spiced with arrogance.
On a related subject, a slick "madison avenue" propaganda sound bite showed up on my satellite as a PBS starring unknowns and a few "hollywood" morons.
My favorite line: America must accept everyone, or it is not America.
Hard to imagine a mind that would believe such a moronic concept, or own the tiny mental horsepower that would have them believe that the American public will mindlessly buy into it.
The talking heads in the media and this administration are going to have a hard time explaining it away.
Its called multiculturalism and it is taught K-college and championed by the NEA and other teachers unions.
He is convinced that while most people living along the border understand the problem, the rest of the country has no idea what is happening.
This is mostly true, but if you are in construction on a small scale, in the South, Midwest, even as far east and north as New York, the Mexican exchange student is the back bone of the operation, especially in the building of private homes. They are hard workers and talented. However, being talented doesnt excuse them or the employer for breaking the law.
Few in the country and Washington, D.C. have a clue as to wave of migrants entering this country via our borders; it is an invasion and it is real. Roger Barnett is to be commended for his efforts, not criticized as the Southern Poverty Law Center is want to do. That subversive group should be gone over with a fine toothcomb by the FBI rather than waste time and money trying to trip up an American Citizen who has the right to protect his property.
Their way of drumming up biz no doubt.
Alaska has been steadily flooded with Illegals for many many years now. Even saw a huge La Raza banner being carried in a Native Sovereignty parade a couple years ago.
I don't think it's the right way to go ----we've got politicians promising amnesty if they can get over here and work for 2 years and live off others for the other 3, we have businesses getting away with hiring them and an alternate system of obtaining Social Security numbers, also the drug trade is very lucrative ---and you can see that by the corridas they sing. I'd rather see those shut down than violence on the border. Promising amnesty just encourages a run for the border and legalization encourages a run for the welfare office.
It's sad because some of these people are just trying to save their homes and families back in Mexico which continues to cheat these people out of a good living there. There should be a way they can stay home and enjoy some of their own country's vast natural resources ---and most would prefer that to what they're doing.
No violation of law here. Barnett is well with in his rights. If the FBI is wait for him to mess up the FBI better focus on more important things. To bad others don't follow suit and follow a leader. To bad Congress and the President are politically afraid to solve this problem.
Let's get real!
Jim Behnke is pure grassroots. Locals like Barnett talked him in to running against RINO Kolbe because Kolbe is completely out of touch with his constituents - especially on the border issue. Recent townhalls held by Kolbe ended up showing how fed up with him his constituents are - and Barnett was out front as one of his most vocal critics.
The trouble is, Behnke is up against an entrenched incumbent with a $1.6 million campaign warchest. Behnke needs your help. You can donate online to Jim Behnke for Congress at www.behnkeforcongress.com.
Agreed. You make some good points. I still think the idea of a strictly enforced and monitored "guest worker" program, offers the best alternative for both business and the workers. Come over, work for the period required, pay taxes and then go home.
Natural resource exploitation in Mexico could offer unlimited opportunities. Bush need to push this. We could offer technical help.
It's nice to know the government is keeping an eye on American citizens.
Now if only the government were as zealous about keeping an eye on illegal immigrants.
Why? Why do we need them to come here to begin with?
If we can strictly enforce a "guest worker" program, then we can strictly enforce a "no worker" program.
Yes--but would they be jobs Americans are willing to do?
It's time for new leadership.
What a wonnderful idea!
I would feel good about having my taxpayer dollars spent installing cameras every 500 feet as far as the eye can see.
And monitored 24/7 by volunteer citizens. Citizens at least 10 years and unequivocally dedicated to the American ideals regardless of how proud they might be of their cultural heritage from elsewhere.
Just think. We can have actual mug shots of every criminal coming over the border, and a running tab of how many have arrived in the last 24 hours.
Now if we can just set up similar cameras at voting booths and hospitals...
Would it bother me? not one bit. I am a citizen, legal, never hyphenated, pay my taxes and don't do recreational drugs.
Admittedly boring, but I always sleep well at night.
Well, it's not like they have anything better to do.
Yes, they are hard workers in general, however, I must disagree with you about the talented part. From what I have seen and heard about here in my locale they can throw up a house in short order, but their skill level leaves much to be desired. Case in point: A new subdivision of 26 houses was thrown up in about two months last summer in a neighboring county by a contractor who used Mexican labor exclusively. The first 4 of the houses that were sold were found to have major structual damage in multiples. The county building inspectors wound up condemning all the houses. The developers eventually had them all torn down and are having to start all over again. That's what their strictly bottom line mentality got them. I don't feel sorry for them at all.
Not to mention that the mineral-rich Rocky Mountains continue south of the border.Lots of good jobs could be made in Mexico if they'd allow their resources to be developed and allow for their underclass to participate and reap some of the rewards.
I've heard lately that a lot of the maquiladoras are packing up for China, partly as a result of China's entry into the WTO. Not only is that bad for Mexico's economy, it creates a whole new class of folks who aren't likely to return to the farm now that they've gotten a taste of a somewhat modern economy.
Guess where they're headed?
Any national politician who would seriously act to halt to illegal immigration would almost certainly fail to do so and ruin his career in the process.
I doubt the people have the stomach for what it would take to stop illegal immigration in any case.
In fact, I'm sure the majority do not.
That's not a result of overpopulation; a falling birth rate of that kind results from industrial prosperity.
Mexico should look at how the Japanese were able to get a middle class lifestyle and with a much smaller land mass with much fewer natural resources. Japan didn't do it by trying to become completely dependent on the US either, I think they had to change their culture and were willing to do that.
Here of course. Their government is encouraging them to believe that they should be completely dependent on the US, I never thought the maquilas were a good idea in the first place and I never thought those $25-30 a week jobs were going to do much for that country. They can't head back to their little farms because they've lost them. Also the government diverted irrigation waters to the fast growing cities like Juarez and maquilas so there could be more people there than the desert can support.
Instead of Mexicanizing the US, we should be Americanizing Mexico, let Americans go there and build up resorts and restaurants ----I'd rather be a waiter making tips off American tourists than a maquila worker anyday. It's amazing to compare the California and Florida coasts with the Mexican coasts ---amazing how it just all stops at the border and they have even better weather.
There is much about what might be the hidden justifications for immigration of all kinds, that can be found in old texts and in the kind of advice that is passed down through generations of businessmen and statesmen by word of mouth.
Here's one: In the 1700's, at the dawn of the industrial revolution, one of the wealthier class observed that while it is merciful that the people not starve, still it would be unwise for them to become to prosperous, for then they will not work hard.
And so we are flooded with immigrants, legal and illegal, lest salaries skyrocket because the people are too prosperous to want jobs or to work overtime.
Another was said by Voltaire, who painted a picture of Christians of all sects doing buisness with Moslems and Jews--all working harmoniously together because no one group formed a huge majority--in other words, he was touting the practical advantages to industry and government of "diversity".
You obviously don't understand Americans.
Alright, you made me look some stuff up in relation to what you and I have been saying:
Here are two pertinent quotes:
An employer wrote in 1739 that the only way to make workers sober and hard-working, was to lay [workers] under the necessity of laboring all the time they can spare from rest and sleep in order to procure the common necessaries of life.
Another, in 1714, wrote, The poor have nothing to stir them up to be serviceable but their wants, which it is prudence to relieve, but folly to cure.
I suspect the flooding of the country with immigrants of all kinds, is designed to increase the supply of labor and thereby lower salaries and thereby keep the people hungry enough to work hard and put up with stuff.
Didn't slow them down in China, India, or slow down the poor in our own crowded ghettos.
It's not overpopulation, it's the kind of prosperity that comes from highly industrialized societies, like Japan, most of Europe, and the U.S.A.
That's the government putting the squeeze on the middle class. Here there is a state law that puts a cap on property tax ---so to get around that they just keep raising the value of property in reappraisals to kill the middle class.
Also to maintain a large welfare class I think. At the same time we're being taxed to death to provide for a very expensive public educational system, we're bringing in millions of people who have no education at all. It doesn't make sense ---why not just quit educating Americans if we really need that many low-skilled workers and save the taxpayers some money.