Arizona neo-Nazis J.T. Ready and Harry Hughes have apparently been busy to judge by a recent item on Hughes' blog "Just Another Day... " There, he's posted photos of Ready, himself and others wearing camouflage and toting high-powered firearms as they watch over 11 illegal aliens that Hughes claims the group encountered Wednesday, July 14.
Hughes states that they came across the migrants while on an "illegal alien/drug smuggler patrol in the Sonoran Desert National Monument." He writes that his group encountered the men sitting under a water tank in "an abandoned cattle watering area," and that the migrants "quickly gave themselves up" to the neo-Nazis.
According to his blog, Hughes and the others gave the migrants water and notified the Pinal County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Border Patrol, which took custody of the men. There is a photo of a Border Patrol agent searching a migrant on Hughes' site.
(You can see more photos of Ready's group "U.S. Border Guard" in action, here.)
Tim Gaffney, a spokesman for PCSO, told me that the sheriff's office received a call from J.T. Ready on Wednesday. Patrol deputies were dispatched, but Border Patrol arrived at the scene first and handled the situation.
Characteristically, Border Patrol was not able to confirm that it responded to the call. I asked Border Patrol spokeswoman Colleen Agle if her agency had any qualms about having migrants turned over to it by known neo-Nazis.
"We take all citizens' calls seriously," she replied. "Whether it's a group of citizens or an individual, we're going to go check it out."
Should we be concerned about hate groups roaming the desert on "illegal alien" patrols? I think so. At the very least, the authorities should be monitoring the activities of Ready and his SS-wannabes.
In a sarcastic comment from Hughes on his site, he states:
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"For those of you that call us racists or vigilantes, you can add another name to that list. That name is `Humanitarian.' When was the last time one of you liberal journalists or keyboard commandos offered up his/her own water to someone he/she particularly didn't like?"
It's interesting that Hughes, a self-described National Socialist, is stung by the term "racist." I'm just glad that no one was injured, or worse. Still, if Hughes thinks that people will shrug off extremists in the Arizona desert hunting for illegal aliens, he's more delusional than I anticipated.
I will give the neo-Nazis one thing: With less money and men, the neo-Nazis came across about the same number of undocumented as Sheriff Joe Arpaio did on his latest sweep in the same general vicinity, according to reports. (Maricopa and Pinal Counties border each other, you see.) Maybe J.T. should run for sheriff.
Update: Correction on that last paragraph: A just-issued MCSO press release, which you can read, here, states that Sheriff Joe's boys in beige arrested 16 during his operation, seven of which were suspected of being illegal. Depending on how you cut that, J.T. still may be ahead for the week.