Strangers in Town

Much has been made about the vigilante types who have moved into Southern Arizona and begun to defend our border with Mexico from the onslaught of illegal immigration.

I'm not too fond of these interlopers myself. Glenn Spencer started his American Border Patrol and moved into Cochise County from California, while the Ranch Rescue mob in Santa Cruz County originated in Texas.

The most dangerous of them all may be Chris Simcox, a former Los Angeles schoolteacher who moved here a year ago and bought the Tombstone Tumbleweed newspaper. Now he's packing a pistol, riding the range on the lookout for illegal border crossers and organizing a posse.

I smell an entrepreneur who's figured a scheme to boost his newspaper circulation and gain fame and fortune riding the border wave. County and city officials have pegged him as trouble and approved motions opposing such vigilantism.

Douglas Mayor Ray Borane rightly figures that Simcox and his ilk are more dangerous than your average undocumented immigrant seeking a better life in the United States.

Illegal immigration was a nasty and growing problem during the 12 years I lived in Cochise County, and as Leo Banks points out in this week's feature beginning on page 14, it's gotten worse. Ranchers who were once sympathetic to the immigrants' plight now confront a harder case.

But even they don't want these new cowboys riding herd on their land. Enough people have died in the desert because of failed U.S. immigration policies. We don't need more.

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