Good Times with the Right-Wing Defenders of America's Southern Border

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 4 2013 1:27 AM

Good Times with the Right-Wing Defenders of America's Southern Border

PHOENIX—I've got a piece in the throes of editing right now, mostly about a trip I took to the border in the company of right-wingers. American Border Patrol let me crash at their guest lodging, the Coronado House, and take a little tour of the border.

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Glenn Spencer, founder of the group—denounced for the better part of two decades by the Southern Poverty Law Center—took me around the premises and showed off the border-watching technology he's been developing. Here he plays back audio intercepted from U.S. Border Control, which he uses to map overnight crossings.

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The 104-acre ABP property is situated right in front of a long stretch of 18-foot border fence. Walk up to it and you can see the remnants of the old, porous fence, and the monuments commemorating the first usage of the land.

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Down a ways from the 18-foot fence is a "Normandy fence," only about five feet high. This cow is wandering between the American zone (60 feet beyond the fence) and Mexico. Nobody seems to mind.

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ABP receives miniature American flags and messages from donors, and collects them into signs they build and plant right in front of the fence. This collection spells out the word "secure."

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And this is the new, frustrating 3-D printer the group is using to build components for the small drones that they want to use to watch the border. They've been putting up un-manned vehicles for years; the new new thing is a cyclocopter.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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