- A former kindergarten teacher who has organized a 600-strong
militia in Arizona will station 50 armed militia members on public land
this weekend to "protect their country" against an invasion of
illegal aliens, warning federal authorities - including President Bush
- not to interfere. Top Stories
- "I dare the president of
the United States to arrest Americans who are protecting their own country,"
said Chris Simcox, the teacher-turned-newspaper owner who has formed the
Tombstone, Ariz., Militia. "We will no longer tolerate the ineptness
of the government in dealing with these criminals and drug dealers.
- "It is a monumental disgrace
that our government is letting the American people down, turning us into
the expendable casualties of the war on terrorism," he said.
- Mr. Simcox, owner of the Tombstone
Tumbleweed, said the armed militia members would patrol public land to
detain illegal aliens every weekend until Mr. Bush puts U.S. troops on
the border to stop the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants coming
into the state each year and the resulting vandalism of public and private
- Federal and state lawmakers
have targeted Mr. Simcox for hearings to determine if he has violated any
laws in forming the armed militia organization and posting its members
on private land to stop illegal aliens, smugglers and drug dealers.
- The hearings are being sought
by Rep.-elect Raul Grijalva, Arizona Democrat; Gov.-elect Janet Napolitano;
current Arizona Gov. Jane Hull; and state Rep. Robert Cannell, Yuma Democrat,
and are expected to focus on the Tombstone Militia and other civilian militia
groups and citizen patrols that have sprung up along Arizona's border with
- Many of the militia and patrol
members have expressed anger and frustration over the government's inability
to stop the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens coming into Arizona
each year from Mexico.
- Mr. Grijalva, who takes office in January,
said he also intends to ask Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate
the Arizona militias and patrols, saying he feared the "potential
for violence" along the border involving the civilian organizations.
- "Armed civilian groups on the border
contribute to an already fragile situation, and their rhetoric is very
dangerous to the overall security of the region," Mr. Grijalva said.
"We have a failed border policy, but the intrusion of armed militias
certainly adds to the potential for violence.
- "It's time Congress became involved
and conduct hearings on a full range of critical border issues, including
the militias, immigration reform and overall border policy," he said.
"With the issue of vigilantism, the potential for that becoming something
very ugly certainly exists."
- The Arizona Legislature is expected
to take up the matter when it returns for business in January, and the
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights also has asked the Justice Department to
investigate suspected "vigilante" activities in Arizona.
- Arizona is home to more than
a dozen known militia organizations.
- About a third of the more than 1 million
illegal aliens expected to be arrested this year by U.S. Border Patrol
agents will be apprehended in southern Arizona, where they have migrated
because of increased border enforcement in California and Texas.
- The influx of illegal aliens has resulted
not only in a glut of vandalism in Arizona, but to a rise in crime along
the state's border with Mexico, authorities said.
- Mr. Simcox challenged federal and
state officials to "uphold the oath of office they took to protect
America" from foreign enemies. He also said militia members who take
part in the weekend patrol will not wear uniforms or camouflage, but will
be armed with handguns - no rifles - to protect themselves.
- "I've been out on the border
for 10 months, and I can tell you that we have to be armed," he said,
noting that citizen militias are necessary and legal.
- "I am not afraid to carry
this on to state lands that belong to every citizen. It's our land,"
he said. "I'm not afraid to step on that land and do the same thing,
and I challenge my government to come and arrest me. We are not crazies,
we're concerned citizens we are responsible people."
- The first group of 50 was inducted and began
a course of training on Saturday, which included a qualification that each
seek and be issued a state concealed-weapons permit. Mr. Simcox told Tucson
reporters last week the requirement would allow the militia to use the
government to screen its volunteers, who would have to pass a felony background
investigation and an FBI check.
- All site contents copyright © 2002 News World Communications,