The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Each year, over one million undocumented immigrants make their way across the U.S.-Mexican border in search of a better life. They are fleeing desperate situations like war, oppression, corruption, and starvation. Not only do undocumented immigrants making their way across the border have to fear dehydration and starvation, but they must also worry about death at the hands of Texas landowners. Texas ranchers often react with extreme measures in protecting their property. Ranch Rescue is an organization made up of volunteers who believe they should take measures into their own hands whenever there is a failure or refusal to act by the government. Their main concern is the supposed rise in crime among border counties. An investigation shows Ranch Rescue is a vigilante organization with ties to anti-government groups. The actions of Texas ranchers also denote anti-immigration sentiments and class-based animus. Federal and state legal strategies exist to combat this tide of violence. There exist numerous Federal statutes which may provide relief for undocumented immigrants. These include the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the Federal Anti-Conspiratory Statute, the Failure to Prevent Conspiracy Act, and the Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law Act. State strategies under civil liability include negligence per se, assault, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence. State strategies under criminal liability include assault, aggravated assault, murder, and attempted murder. Ranchers do have rights in justifiably protecting their property. They may raise numerous defenses such as protection of one’s property and deadly force to protect property. There are also social strategies which may minimize the occurrences of violence against undocumented immigrants. These include Good Samaritan Patrols, Trek Survival, and the Border Safety Initiative.

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