Last week Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a bill that authorizes herself and future governors to deploy an “Arizona State Guard” under the broadest of circumstances. Sponsored by Republican State Rep. Jack Harper, the guard is a sort of state militia that can be “activated” to do much of the same work of the National Guard but without ever falling under the umbrella of the federal government.
Harper would like to see the guard established immediately and used to patrol the U.S.-Mexican border for undocumented immigrants. So would other the backers of the bill including extremists in the nativist movement.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, numerous “Patriot” and other white supremacist-leaning websites are urging people to contact local representatives to push Gov. Brewer to act. Among those urging Gov. Brewer to act is the leader of an anti-immigrant paramilitary group called Ranch Rescue whose members assaulted two Salvadoran migrants who crossed the border on foot onto a Texas ranch.
It is no surprise that nativists back this private militia bill. And so far very little has been disclosed concerning what, if any, accountability these private militias will have.
For example, do these private militias have to abide by civil rights laws? What about the Bill of Rights? The quick answer is of course no — that is precisely why they have been created.
photo courtesy of jim.greenhill via Flickr