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Friday, 26 May 2000

Sheriffs of 4 counties support ranchers who detain entrants

By Tim Steller

The sheriffs of the four counties on Arizona's border with Mexico yesterday declared a coordinated effort to address border crime and announced support for ranchers who detain illegal entrants.

The sheriffs said they plan to set up lines of communication with ranchers and other rural residents so they know where help is needed, although they have yet to hash out the details of that plan.

They also said they will request funding from Congress to increase patrols and help deal with the disorder related to unprecedented illegal immigration.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik saved his most passionate words to defend rural residents in the path of the migrant flows.

"We feel ... that people who are being forced to sleep with one ear to the door and one eye open, in order to protect their property and their families from harm, are being labeled as some kind of radical group," Dupnik said. "This simply is not the case."

"People in the urban areas wouldn't tolerate it. People in the rural areas, who have been subjected to it for a long period of time, have become very frustrated with what's going on, overwhelmed, and their frustration has turned to anger," Dupnik said.

Dupnik said he doubts the County Attorney's Office will pursue charges relating to the televised detention of six illegal entrants by a ranch worker in Avra Valley.