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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Rise of Vigilante Justice In Arizona

By Bobbie O’Neill CSMS Magazine Staff WriterOn October 6th 2003, the Yuma County (Arizona) Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to pass a resolution condemning “vigilante” groups that are on the rise on southern borders of the state and reiterated that it is the job of the U.B Border patrol and its trained agents to secure the border against illegal immigration. Folks from Oregon, Montana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Maryland and Kentucky may well say, “What does a ruling by an Arizona country board have to do with me?” Well folks, it is very simple! These illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America may cross our borders and die crossing our border down here, but those that live don’t stay here. They end up in Oregon, Montana, Kansas. Michigan, Ohio, New York, Maryland and Kentucky and take jobs away from deserving citizens of your states because they will work for a lower wage. Many of them may even have been recruited through “coyotes”, immigrant smugglers, by upstanding businessmen or perhaps neighbors in your very own communities. Thus illegal immigration is not only a problem for the border communities but for areas all over the United States as people in the above- mentioned states wonder what to do with the influx of Spanish speaking peoples who are inundating their cities and towns. The ruling in Yuma County came as a result of an incident whereby three men unlawfully held six illegal immigrants at gunpoint in the early morning hours of July 31st, 2003 in Gadsen, AZ – A community a few miles north of the Sonora, Mexico border and detained them until U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived. Among the six illegals were two women and a 16-year-old boy. The other three were children ages 6, 8 and 10. The three men were armed with guns, flashlights and handcuffs. The two women and 16-year-old boy were handcuffed. Two of the three, Matthew Hoffman, 23, of Yuma and Alexander Dumas, 26, Big Bear Lake, California, were arrested several days later and pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit unlawful imprisonment. As a result of the guilty plea, six counts of aggravated assault and five of unlawful imprisonment were dismissed and they were released on bail pending their sentencing date on October 8th. Dr. Howard Garber, director of the California- based American Civil Responsibilities Union was the first rights group to get involved with the case. His ACRU is heavily involved in immigration issues and California politics supports the deportation of every illegal immigrant in the country and believes the nation’s permissive immigration laws will destroy the nation. Garber states on his website – www.acru.com – that “ACRU Inc. lauds and supports the actions of Matthew Hoffman and Alexander Dumas in their citizen’s arrest of 6 illegal aliens who they turned over to the U.S Border Patrol” At the same time Garber denounced the actions of the Yuma County Sheriff and the County Attorney for arresting and charging Hoffman and Dumas for doing what our federal and state government have failed to do over the years – enforce our immigration laws. Letters to the editors sprang forth in the local daily paper out of the pros and cons of the Hoffman-Dumas affair that also brought in another group – The Civilian Homeland Defense of Cochise County, Arizona which came to Yuma to set up a vigilante patrol group along the Yuma border sector setting off a firestorm of protests.About the author: Bobbie Hart O’Neill is a retired print media journalist, CSU-Sacramento, ’74, with 40 years experience in the field. She has worked as a reporter, feature writer, columnist, public relations writer, magazine/newsletter editor and publisher. She lives in Yuma, Arizona.

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