- Text smaller
- Text bigger
An Arizona lawmaker has introduced a bill to revise the state’s statutes on organized crime and fraud by defining “domestic terrorism” in such a way that members of the Minuteman Project or other border-patrol groups could be prosecuted and forced to serve a minimum six-month jail term.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema
Sinema, formerly of the Green Party, had earlier submitted a bill asking the legislature to make changes to a law used to prosecute customers of immigrant smugglers as conspirators under Arizona’s human trafficking law.
“None of us every dreamed it would be used in a co-conspirator fashion,” Sinema said.
As WND reported, it was federal inaction that motivated Arizona lawmakers to approve the new law creating the crime of smuggling in 2005. Maricopa County District Attorney Andrew Thomas announced he would interpret the law to mean illegals caught with a smuggler could be prosecuted as co-conspirators if they paid a coyote to transport them across the border.
“If the customer pays a dope peddler money, he’s violated the law,” said Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who compares the relationship between coyotes and illegals to drug dealers and their customers. “(Here), they’re paying for transport.”
That law was upheld last year by a county judge after defense attorneys questioned its constitutionality. Last month, the same judge who upheld the law also overturned the first jury conviction of an illegal immigrant charged as a conspirator under the law, Associated Press reported.
Now, Sinema is targeting border-security groups like the Minutemen with new legislation that would define anyone not formally affiliated with law enforcement, who patrolled in search of illegal activity while armed, as a domestic terrorist. If it becomes law, the bill would impose a mandatory minimum jail sentence, even if prosecutors recommend probation.
HB 2286 reads:
Sec. 2. Title 13, chapter 23, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 13-2320, to read:
13-2320. Domestic terrorism; classification
A. An individual or group of individuals commits domestic terrorism if the individual or group of individuals are not affiliated with a local, state or federal law enforcement entity and associate with another individual or group of individuals as an organization, group, corporation or company for the purpose of patrolling to detect alleged illegal activity or to individually patrol for the purpose of detecting alleged illegal activity and if the individual or group of individuals is armed with a firearm or other weapon.
B. Any city, town or county that suffers injury arising out of a violation of this section may maintain an action in superior court for the recovery of damages or for an injunction, or both. The court may award the successful party reasonable attorney fees.
C. If the court sentences the defendant to a term of probation, the court shall order that as an initial condition of probation the defendant be imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not less than six months. This jail term of incarceration shall not be deferred, deleted or otherwise suspended and shall commence on the date of sentencing. This subsection does not apply to persons who are sentenced to serve a period of incarceration in the state department of corrections.
D. A violation of this section is a class 5 felony.
Sinema and other Democrat legislators joined the ACLU and the American Friends Service Committee as legal observers during the Minutemen’s project on the Arizona-Mexico border in April 2005.
“I’ve been monitoring the Minutemen for a year now,” Sinema told vigilantewatch.org at the time, “and they’re just scary.”
“Race-based tactics always lead to violence,” she insisted. “Remember, the Ku Klux Klan was the first-ever group to patrol the border between the U.S. and Mexico back in the ’70s.”
As WND reported, a leader of the violent, terror-connected Latin American gang Mara Salvatruchas, Ebner Anivel Rivera-Paz, had reportedly issued orders from federal prison to members of his international criminal organization to teach a lesson to the group of Americans taking border control into their own hands.
The Mara Salvatruchas, founded in Los Angeles, has become one of the most violent and widespread gangs throughout South America, the U.S. and even Canada. Many of its members and leaders have been deported from the U.S., but the group is said to be deeply involved in cross-border arms-running and drug-smuggling operations, according to U.S. law enforcement sources.
Under Sinema’s bill, volunteers who still want to assist law enforcement by being eyes and ears along the border will have to do so unarmed.
Sinema was awarded the “Vladimir I Lenin” award from Arizona Federation of Taxpayers in 2005, a tongue-in-cheek honor given to the “most pro-big government legislator.” In 2006, she angered many conservatives when, in a magazine interview, she referred to them as “Neanderthals” and said women and moms who stay at home and don’t work are dependent on men and “leeching off their husbands.”
If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.