México City, April 5, 2001.
BARNETTS GO BY BOOK IN LATEST BORDER ROUNDUP
By LEO FLORES
The News Staff Reporter
In a complete turnabout, Arizona's Barnett brothers notified the Border Patrol instead of personally arresting 16 Mexican migrants who wondered onto their property during the weekend.
"The immigrants were detained on Sunday in Cochise Country after Roger and Donald Barnett phoned authorities," Border Patrol spokesman David Derrick said.
Derrick said the brothers "at no time tried to arrest the immigrants. They didn't even get anywhere close to them," government news agency Notimex reported on Wednesday.
Government officials last month condemned recent abuse by U.S. ranchers against Mexican migrants caught trespassing on their properties.
In an incident last month, the Barnett brothers were accused of firing warning shots as they arrested 17 migrants who entered their ranch.
According to the Cochise County sheriff's department, the Barnetts arrived at the scene armed with pistols, assault rifles and attack dogs.
But on Monday it was a different story, according to Derrick.
"When they saw the migrants enter their property they decided to stay indoors and call for Border Patrol support," Derrick said. "The migrants suffered no abuse by the ranchers and agreed to be deported."
Miguel Escobar, Mexico's consul in Douglas, Arizona, confirmed that although the incident occurred on the Barnett ranch, "the brothers abstained from taking the law into their hands as in previous occasions.
"This is want we have been demanding: for qualified authorities to be notified to make arrests on private property," Escobar said, "instead of armed civilians taking action."