[News] Illegal immigrants awarded ranch in border-justice twist

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 23 12:07:32 EDT 2005

Illegal immigrants awarded ranch in border-justice twist

Posted on Sun Aug 21st, 2005 at 10:00:20 PM EST
Back in the spring of 2003, an Arizona ranch owner stood guard along the 
U.S./Mexican border in South Texas.

He was there to protect his land from the onslaught of illegal immigrants 
who might cross the border to work on ranches like his, or maybe in the 
exoburb homes of wealthy people further north.

The rancher was standing his ground with like-minded zealots participating 
in the xenophobic militia-like group called Ranch Rescue. If the wrong 
person "invaded" America, he and his cadre of armed "patriots" were 
prepared to take the law into their own hands.

And it seems the rancher from Arizona got his man – and then reportedly 
bashed him with his gun.

The <http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/3318259>Associated 
Press reports:

In March 2003, (Casey) Nethercott was accused of pistol-whipping an illegal 
immigrant as he and other people from Ranch Rescue patrolled a ranch in 
Hebbronville, Texas. A jury deadlocked on the charge.

Edwin Alfredo Mancía Gonzáles, the man who accused Nethercott of hitting 
him, and another immigrant traveling with him from El Salvador, Fátima del 
Socorro Leiva Medina, filed a civil lawsuit last year saying they were 
harmed while being held.

Ranch Rescue and like-minded vigilante groups, such as the Minuteman Civil 
Defense Corp., have garnered a lot of mainstream press for displays of 
gun-toting machismo along the U.S./Mexican border.

Rarely, though, do those reports discuss the history of violence that has 
accompanied such forms of 
<http://www.legendsofamerica.com/LA-Lynching6.html>mob “justice” in Texas:

In the American Southwest, people of Mexican descent were also prey to mob 
violence, as evidenced by the lynching of Antonio Rodriquez on November 3, 
1910, in Rock Springs, Texas.  Allegedly, Rodriquez had killed a white 
woman by the name of Mrs. Clem Hernderson after the two had had an argument.

Rumors circulated that he had committed the murder in front of Mrs. 
Henderson's five year old daughter.

His guilt was based solely upon her husband's third-hand description of the 
suspect delivered over the telephone and most likely Rodriquez was the 
victim of a tragic case of mistaken identity.  In any event, the young 
cowboy was captured, taken a mile outside of town, tied to a mesquite 
cactus, doused in kerosene, and burned alive.

Widely publicized in the Mexican press, the lynching in Texas led to large 
anti-American demonstrations in both Mexico City and Guadalajara.

Coverage of the lynching and the reaction to it was wildly 
sensationalized.  The newspapers at the capitol of Mexico demanded 'Where 
is the boasted Yankee civilization?'"

In Texas, the publicity of the lynching provoked even more attacks on 
Mexicans. Because Mexicans "displayed an impudent attitude" they were 
attacked in Galveston. In construction camps and ranches in Webb, Duval, 
LaSalle, Dimmit and Starr Counties, Anglos attacked Mexicans who were 
reportedly "sullen and threatening since the burning of Rodriquez at Rock 

Still, seemingly ignorant of this history of injustice, or maybe even 
recklessly unconcerned with whether it is repeated, these borderline 
fascist groups continue to broadcast their skewed, inflammatory rhetoric, 
which is usually reported uncritically and without historical context by 
the media.

More from the AP story:

"If the federal government was doing its job, ranchers would not be living 
in fear," said Chris Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense 
Corp., which watches for illegal immigrant crossings and reports them to 
the U.S. Border Patrol.

Now, does that mean the illegal immigrants are reported before or after a 
good pistol whipping?

At least in the Ranch Rescue case, it appears that the pistol-whipping was 
part of a pre-reporting border-protection protocol.

AP reports:

Named in the (civil) suit were Nethercott; Jack Foote, the founder of Ranch 
Rescue; and the owners of the Hebbronville ranch, Joe and Betty Sutton.

The Suttons settled for $100,000
 . In April, a Texas judge issued default 
judgments of $850,000 against Nethercott and $500,000 against Foote.

But it seems Nethercott was not exactly flush with case. So his little 
display of border-patrol machismo cost him the ranch.

In order to satisfy the judgment against him, according to AP, Nethercott 
was forced to turn over his ranch in Douglas, Az., to the two border 
crossers he allegedly “terrorized.” Ironically, AP reports, the Douglas 
ranch once served as the headquarters of Ranch Rescue – ouch!

Again, from the AP story:

The land transfer is being done to satisfy a judgment against the ranch's 
owner, Casey Nethercott, member of a border-watch group that seeks to 
protect private property from illegal immigrants entering the southern U.S. 
border. Nethercott had been accused of terrorizing the immigrants when they 
were caught in Texas.

... Nethercott (had) transferred ownership of his Douglas ranch to his 
sister. But the sister gave up ownership to settle the judgment.

Border-watch groups were “outraged,” AP reports. But not everyone sees it 
that way.

“Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial counsel of the Southern Poverty 
Law Center, which represented the immigrants, said he hoped the ruling 
would serve as a cautionary tale to land owners or civilian patrols 
considering hostile measures against border crossers,” the AP story reports.

But regardless of how the media paints it, the bottom line is that the 
price for the ranch in this case was paid in blood. It’s just another 
reminder that if Texas history could be poured into the Rio Grande, the 
river would run red across the border.

In that context, it's clear that human rights have to trump property 
rights, if we are to have any hope of changing the course of that history.

The Freedom Archives
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