You’ll Never Believe Why 16 Illegals Are Suing 1 Arizona Rancher

In the national debate over illegal immigration, much focus has been placed on sanctuary cities, the welfare benefits such illegals often draw, and the work of ICE agents in fighting illegal immigration and in preventing the illegals from getting into the country in the first place. All of these are important issues, especially with the government during the Obama administration failing in its duty to enforce the law and protect Americans.

We sometimes forget that not all illegals arrive in the U.S. by hiding in vehicles or by crossing government land. Many cross private property on their way to their ultimate destinations within the U.S. And many of these make more than just nuisances of themselves as they trespass on private ranches and other privately held land.

One rancher had enough and began intercepting illegals trespassing on his land and turning them over to ICE for legal action. In return, sixteen of them are suing this man and others for “emotional distress” connected with being apprehended by the rancher. That this sort of case is even heard in U.S. courts shows how absurd things have become.


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“An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Roger Barnett, 64, began rounding up illegal immigrants in 1998 and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol, he said, after they destroyed his property, killed his calves and broke into his home.

“His Cross Rail Ranch near Douglas, Ariz., is known by federal and county law enforcement authorities as ‘the avenue of choice’ for immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.”

Consider the plight of this rancher who has to deal with illegal aliens regularly crossing his land. Some of these illegals are criminals and would think nothing of attacking the rancher and his family, nor of stealing whatever they might be able to get their hands on. In other words, to the degree to which the government fails to stop illegal migration at the border is the degree to which private citizens in areas where such migration is common are put at risk.

So it comes as no surprise to learn that ranchers, such as Barnett, who must deal with the invasion of their land by illegal migrants and the danger they present have taken matters into their own hands. After all, ICE cannot set up a 24/7 presence on every private ranch near the border with Mexico. And some of these migrants are serious threats, attacking and killing the ranchers’ livestock and breaking into their homes.

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Now what was this man supposed to do, put up signs asking the illegals to treat his property with respect? Call the sheriff every time he spotted illegals on his property and wait for him to arrive and take action? Just let them kill his livestock and rob his home?

Of course, he cannot just shoot these people on sight, or torture them. But that’s not what is being alleged here. The illegals are claiming that being held at gunpoint until law enforcement arrives and being shouted at are violations of their civil rights and that the rancher is liable for the “emotional distress” they have allegedly suffered. What about the emotional distress the rancher and his family no doubt regularly suffer wondering when their home is going to be invaded next?

“Trial continues Monday in the federal lawsuit, which seeks $32 million in actual and punitive damages for civil rights violations, the infliction of emotional distress and other crimes. Also named are Mr. Barnett’s wife, Barbara, his brother, Donald, and Larry Dever, sheriff in Cochise County, Ariz., where the Barnetts live. The civil trial is expected to continue until Friday.

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“The lawsuit is based on a March 7, 2004, incident in a dry wash on the 22,000-acre ranch, when he approached a group of illegal immigrants while carrying a gun and accompanied by a large dog.

“Attorneys for the immigrants – five women and 11 men who were trying to cross illegally into the United States – have accused Mr. Barnett of holding the group captive at gunpoint, threatening to turn his dog loose on them and saying he would shoot anyone who tried to escape.”

As an aside, keep in mind that the illegals, themselves, are sometimes armed.

So in reading the report, where’s the infraction by the rancher? The illegals had broken federal law by entering the country as they did, and they were trespassing on his land. So he apprehended the criminals and held them at gunpoint until ICE arrived. He threatened them with violence if they tried to escape. They apparently made no such attempt and he harmed no one.

But they were “emotionally distressed” by the ordeal. In fact, this is actually no more than a campaign, financed by open borders and illegal immigration advocates, to intimidate those owning private lands that illegals cross. The hope is they look the other way or abandon their property as opposed to intercepting the illegals.

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“The immigrants are represented at trial by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which also charged that Sheriff Dever did nothing to prevent Mr. Barnett from holding their clients at “gunpoint, yelling obscenities at them and kicking one of the women.”

“In the lawsuit, MALDEF said Mr. Barnett approached the group as the immigrants moved through his property, and that he was carrying a pistol and threatening them in English and Spanish. At one point, it said, Mr. Barnett’s dog barked at several of the women and he yelled at them in Spanish, ‘My dog is hungry and he’s hungry for buttocks.’

“The lawsuit said he then called his wife and two Border Patrol agents arrived at the site. It also said Mr. Barnett acknowledged that he had turned over 12,000 illegal immigrants to the Border Patrol since 1998.”

There’s the real “offense.” It’s not that he yelled obscenities at these trespassers. It’s that this man has captured and turned 12,000 illegal migrants over to ICE. This is a political trial, one designed to discourage property owners from defending themselves while maximizing the flood of illegals into the country. Instead of facing trial, he ought to be given an award for being such an asset to the community.

It’s bad enough that these illegals trespass, but that some of them kill livestock, leave garbage along the way, and break into homes looking for items to steal creates an intolerable situation.

“Mr. Barnett told The Washington Times in a 2002 interview that he began rounding up illegal immigrants after they started to vandalize his property, northeast of Douglas along Arizona Highway 80. He said the immigrants tore up water pumps, killed calves, destroyed fences and gates, stole trucks and broke into his home.

“Some of his cattle died from ingesting the plastic bottles left behind by the immigrants, he said, adding that he installed a faucet on an 8,000-gallon water tank so the immigrants would stop damaging the tank to get water.

“Mr. Barnett said some of the ranch´s established immigrant trails were littered with trash 10 inches deep, including human waste, used toilet paper, soiled diapers, cigarette packs, clothes, backpacks, empty 1-gallon water bottles, chewing-gum wrappers and aluminum foil – which supposedly is used to pack the drugs the immigrant smugglers give their “clients” to keep them running.”

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You would think that those trying to sneak across the border would do everything in their power to hide their presence. Not these people. So emboldened have they become that they have compounded their crimes of violating immigration laws and trespassing on private property by engaging in the destruction of property and drug smuggling as well.

And for defending his property, family, and person, this rancher has been hauled into court because some of these criminals claim to have suffered emotionally because he held them at gunpoint and shouted things at them that are not nice.

To the degree our judicial system tolerates its own abuse by hearing such cases only shows how backwards things have become. Our courts are supposed to dispense justice, not serve as vehicles for promoting a political agenda which, by its very nature, requires the breaking of multiple laws.

This is a case of where we must demand that the victims be freed and the criminals be tried for their offense. Anything less is a terrible miscarriage of justice and will only encourage more lawlessness.

Source: Washington Times

Author: Craig Bennett, American Conservative Herald