Jessica Conaway

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Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, groups of concerned citizens have banded together to pick up where the federal government failed and to combat illegal immigration at its source: the unguarded borders. Armed with the concepts of citizen's arrest and property rights, vigilante ranchers in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas began detaining illegal aliens and turning them over to the authorities. As the vigilante ranchers grew in number, so did the rumors of their violent and abusive tactics. Now, in the national post-9/l1 environment, vigilante ranchers have a renewed sense of purpose, and with the country on alert, they are preying on Americans fear and anger, using words like terrorism, patriotism, and duty to justify their crusade on the border.