Tombstone  Tumbleweed
By Yomi S. Wronge
Mercury News
Editor: We are attempting to contact the saint Isabel Garcia to ask why she is not rushing to the defense of the poor immigrant who is being denied a better life. Where is the justice? I guess the rules are the rules, unless of course it involves a special interest group, or you base justice on race.

   When little Nikita Makarchuk asks for his mother, he won’t understand the word “deportation.”  He won’t understand that at about 7:15 a.m. Sunday, when his mother, Yana Slobodova, disappeared behind a security checkpoint at San Francisco International Airport, dragging two bags packed with her life in America, she was leaving home for good — with no right to return.
Slobodova, a Russian Jew and popular Bay Area piano teacher, gave up her fight for asylum Sunday, despite pleas to U.S. immigration officials from her family, a Bay Area Jewish group and students at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, where she taught for three years.  She was deported after seven years of hearings, denials and appeals to immigration officials in an attempt to overcome what she calls a mistake she made when she first entered the United States. “They are going to send me away from my family because I was stupid eight years ago,” she said at the airport.
   In 1996, Slobodova used false paperwork when she arrived in the United States, but claims she was duped by unscrupulous immigration consultants who promised to gain her legal status based on her musical talent.  U.S. officials quickly discovered her improper paperwork but allowed her to stay in the country while she applied for refugee status. Although her parents were relocated as refugees to the Bay Area, Slobodova has been denied.
   The United States deported 148,619 illegal immigrants, and an additional 933,555 left voluntarily in fiscal year 2002, the most recent year for which figures are available from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
   Since Slobodova came to the United States, she has built a nice life:  She met her husband, Alexander Makarchuk, a U.S. citizen, and together they had a child. She started teaching piano lessons at the largest community performing arts school in the Bay Area. But on January 8 immigration officials denied her request for permanent residency and jailed her for nearly three weeks until she agreed to leave the country. While she packed her belongings at her parents’ San Mateo home Saturday, including the photo albums that include the glimpses of Nikita’s first months of life, she didn’t know how to say goodbye to her only child. She told him, “I will see you soon,” not knowing when, or if.
   Editor: We suggest Slobodova get on a fast plane to Mexico and find the Sonoran border with the United States. I’m sure she could hook up with some enterprising young man who would be more than happy to get her to Isabel Garcia’s office in Tucson.

   Next, let me assure readers that we, volunteers of CHD, are in good health. We have received calls recently from people concerned because I had not printed news from the border in the past few weeks. Well the truth is, between travel plans, personal events, meetings and the weather, CHD has been on limited patrols. We have been doing constant intelligence gathering and have discovered that many local smuggling routes that have been unused in past months are again teeming with law breakers. We have been making plans for addressing the return of the bad guys to their old established routes. The shell game of hide and seek continues with full patrols beginning this weekend.

   My column this week will be used to answer questions from a law student who is writing a paper on the rights citizens have to form citizen patrols along the border. This is the sixth interview I have done with a graduate type student writing a graduate type thesis on citizens patrolling the border. I hope we have advanced their opportunity to be educated.

Dear Mr. Simcox:
My name is Tom Raine and I am a law student at the University of Arizona.  I am currently working on an article for the Arizona Law Review about US immigration policy and the rights of civilian patrol groups to monitor the border.
  If you have the time, I’d like to speak with you about your group’s activities.
   However, understanding that you are likely quite busy, I’ll just ask a few questions over email and you can answer them at your convenience.
   That’s all for now.  If you have anything you want to say about civilian patrol groups or immigration in general, I would love to hear it.  My article thus far comes almost entirely from newspaper stories and I feel that, without some firsthand information, it may be inaccurate.
Thank you for your help.
Tom Raine

   I give the young man credit for pursuing the truth by going beyond newspaper articles that have been manipulated by the enemy. So many people who judge us by what has been presented through the mainstream popular media have been affected by the worst kind of crime perpetrated today: inaccurate information.  Inaccurate information is a nice way to describe what the general public has been led to believe about our operations on the border. I welcome this opportunity to respond to questions and will gladly pay for the column space to answer your queries in public. If only you knew the truth about all the other interviews I have done, during which I have shared the same information only to see it turn up on the other end as something completely void of facts. I hope it will put pressure on Mr. Raine to write a balanced report.
Mr. Raines questions and my responses follow.

Raine:  You seem to know a lot about the law, did your group seek the advice of lawyers or was it self-study? What legal training—in what they can and can’t do—do you give your volunteers?

  Interesting these questions are coming up now and I appreciate your asking them. Let me begin with this quote,  “One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”     -Arnold Glasgow
   Knowing about the law is a daunting task even in the everyday world of the common citizen of this country; putting together a citizen border patrol group was not done lightly and took months of research and training. We learned that the government responds more readily and sympathetically to the law breaking special interests zealots who have the boot of “tolerance and diversity” on our necks. Now, we don’t proclaim that the government is the enemy; we want to work as the government, and with the government.
   What we have learned about the law is self-taught and self-evident in its most palpable reality. We have had the law thrown in our faces –constantly and with a vengeance. We have discovered that when we, as citizens, stand up to protest about injustice and attempt to actually do something about it, then we had first better get ourselves a good attorney or two or three. In our case, there have been many talented experts involved in creating a mission statement and standard operating procedure that has led to our exemplary behavior in the field.
With all the attention given to the issue, you must know that if we had ever crossed the line into illegality we would have been put out of business long ago.
   Knowing the law has showed us what we had to exemplify to have a chance to even begin to do this job. Is the American way knowing the law? We have done nothing short of displaying the kind of character we knew we must, even to have a chance of withstanding the vile name calling and vicious lies that the media helped to perpetuate.
   It took months for anyone even to listen to our message, and many people still can’t get over the fact that we are not “breaking any laws.”  They still can’t accept that, because of our careful training and humane intentions, we provided life-saving water and assistance to 94 men, women and children in the past 14 months of work on the border.
Know the law? We must even know the risks and the laws involved in providing first-aid or water to help give lifesaving aid, let alone know how to deal with confronting a group of people entering our country illegally, often in pitch black night and during a time when we are at war, according to our government.
  Many people experienced in law enforcement and many with law backgrounds and military experience have helped to insure that this mission is made of people who believe in a creed. These are all responsible, law-abiding citizens who by now have proven credibility beyond any doubt
   We have required that everyone involved in patrols and wishing to carry a weapon for self defense, must have gone through at least some type of advanced gun safety course, specifically, a concealed weapons training and permitting program. We know in great detail just how serious a situation must be before you can use a weapon to defend yourself or someone else. You could consider us the most responsible gun owners in America.
   Since November of 2002 we have peacefully assisted Border Patrol and Cochise County Sheriffs with apprehending 2,578 people. We work within the rules; we have never intimidated, detained or even thought about violating any person’s civil or human rights. We can’t detain people if we are not on private property. Landowners know the risk of civil lawsuits—the demon private property owners fear most. When so-called human rights groups like Humane Borders, or Attorney Isabel Garcia beg people to come forward to file complaints against anyone who would stand in the way of the invasion; now that just plain opposes provision for the common defense and does not make sense.
   This has nothing to do with Mexicans as a group of people. I have said that over and over and over. This is about insisting that our government (President Bush) uphold the rule of law and protect our borders with our troops, our technology, and the full might of the U.S.A.
   We have never discriminated against anyone. Don’t care what color your skin is, what color your eyes are or what language you speak: if you’re breaking into my country through the backdoor, you will be turned over to the proper authorities. We have used the same approach for all of the people from 26 different countries whom we have encountered entering our country illegally. We have never forcefully detained anyone-–we can’t. It is against the law for citizens to do such a horrible thing. We have never made a citizen’s arrest—we can’t, because the people entering illegally do so on public lands. Only federal law enforcement has the  ability and authority to stop them.
   In fact, only one complaint has ever been filed against our group and we were fully exonerated of any wrongdoing in that incident. It seems a group of five young machismo men took exception to our finding them and ensuring they were caught by Border Patrol. Five of the group of 29 said we held them at gunpoint. They described a gun that no one in the group even carries. The other 24 people in the group told authorities they never saw a gun and in fact stated to government officials that we were nice and treated them fairly – no complaints. That’s the American way. The complaint was dropped and not another word has ever been said against us by any person we have dealt with on the border.
   Do we know the law? Yes! There have been many people who attempted to volunteer with us and were turned away for various reasons. We have even dumped a few moles who were planted to stir up trouble and not play by the rules-–they were excused. The good citizens who have had the courage to go out into a dark night and face unknown peril have all exhibited the kind of character we expect from each other as Americans. We hold each other accountable and everyone involved in this mission has the restraint and resolve to involve themselves in this in- your-face political protest in this country without overreacting. Go by the rules: enough is enough!
  I knew early on that knowing the law would be the natural first step to take. Our country and specifically Arizona is a patchwork of blended lands that work together to protect, preserve and as we now see, work to control our use of public lands. The land control infringes on our rights to private property through something called sustainable development committees. Knowing that our mission would be attacked as it has been, by so called human rights groups, we knew we had to protect ourselves from the morass of laws and most importantly the interpretations of laws. Even following the law can be used against you; these days you can be damned if you do and damned if you don’t. We have had to be explicitly careful of any interpretation that could be used against the mission of documenting the real crimes being committed: the break down in rule of law along our borders. There are people who want this to continue and they have already weaseled their way into positions of power by duping the voters to provide them public power.

Raine: What are your views on some of the recent civil suits against Ranch Rescue?

   We have no formal affiliation with Ranch Rescue. I have met Jack Foote face to face a couple of times and we have shared time during radio interviews. Aside from one convoluted and suspicious incident in Texas, they have never been even accused of anything, other than being a little aggressive in their rhetoric about defending themselves. And what’s wrong with that? The President of the United States goes around all the time talking about how big and bad we are, and how we will defend American interests around the world.
   It seems only Casey Nethercott has had any problems and he has only been accused of possibly assaulting one illegal out of—how many actually detained? Is he guilty until proven innocent?
   With all of the advertising done in Mexico, there are posters displayed in bars, restaurants and grocery stores, encouraging people to join together to file lawsuits against any of the citizen border groups. How many have ever been filed? Only one. Where are all the victims of the abuse that people like Robin Hoover and Jennifer Allen have accused us of? The only crimes committed are the slander and libelous statements of the so-called humane groups-–they have spread absolute lies and should be the ones served with civil lawsuits for defamation of character and sewing the seeds of racial strife and social dissent. They are the ones who have created a false sense of fear and hate towards something they know nothing about.
   Interesting, is it not, when you discover that I have made repeated invitations to Humane Borders, Isabel, the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and basically every one of these hatemonger groups.  Anyone is invited, even challenged, to join us on a patrol and see up close how the good citizens involved in CHD are exactly what the enemy fears the most.  These are well-intentioned, real humanitarians, people who are not afraid to get their shoes dirty, to sweat in the heat or freeze in the cold possibly to save the lives of the people they say we hate! I continue to invite the “humane” groups to join us, and if they find that we are abusing anyone or breaking the law, I would surrender myself to them as a citizen arrest and allow them to turn me over to the proper authorities. Have they ever come out? Not one of them. They are afraid of the truth: it would invalidate everything they say they stand for. After all, every law enforcement agency that could arrest us has seen what we do, and they all agree that our methods work within even the “color” of the law, let alone the letter of the law. They tell us, “Don’t break the law and we won’t have any problems.” Well, is that not the American way?
Raine: Have you encountered armed undocumented aliens?  Are the coyotes the real danger?

Actually we feel that anyone who attempts to enter our country illegally is a real danger. Even the migrants who come to work have the responsibility to follow our rules and should not complain about a system that should be working to protect the safety of all who are within the soveirgn borders of this country.
Yes, we have been shot at on three different occasions. We have had knives pulled on us and we have been pelted with stones from a few groups. We have never felt we were in a position lawfully to pull a gun, nor ever to fire a shot in defense. Of course the coyotes are the real danger. You never know exactly who they are in a group of people. If they were to shoot at us, they would be surrounded by a group of innocent bystanders. We can’t shoot back because we might hit an unarmed person. We’d be guilty until proven innocent and have our life ruined and tied up in court for years. I would estimate that only in the past 3 to 5 years has the business begun to change. It was then that the drug dealers started double-dipping and became involved in the slave trade business. Yes, many of these people are traded as slaves. The drug dealers are not nice people and they have no regard for human rights. They are vicious capitalists: only the profit matters to them.
  Every single incident of abuses towards migrants has been traced back to the smugglers, not to any citizen taking the law into their own hands. more...
Thursday, March 4, 2004
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