$ 8,059.00: Tancredo and Roger Barnett

Rep. Tom Tancredo has received $8,059 from controversial immigration figures, and $2000 of it came from a man named Roger Barnett, who is accused of physically assaulting migrant workers according to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).

FEC records show that Barnett, a citizen of Arizona, gave $1000 to Tancredo in 2004, and two $500 donations in 2005.

In March of last year, MALDEF filed a suit against Barnett on behalf of plaintiffs-at least ten of which are Mexican citizens-for participating in what the legal document claimed was “committed assault and battery” and “a conspiracy to deprive plaintiffs of their civil rights” among other things.The lawsuit goes further in describing the events, alleging that Barnett pointed a gun at a group of people and assaulted a woman he encountered in Douglas, Arizona:

Barnett yelled at the Plaintiff Ana Maria Vicente, one of the woman resting under the bush, saying in Spanish, “levantate perra” (get up, bitch). She did not stand up because she feared the dog who continued to bark menacingly.  Barnett then kicked her very hard in the  leg as she lay on the ground.

Barnett attempted to kick plaintiff Ana Maria Vicente again,  but she blocked the kick by moving a bag in the way. The kick destroyed some of the belongings she had in the bag. Ana Maria began crying in pain and fear.

Sandra Velazquez, who was in the smaller group of three women, witnessed Barnett kicking Ana Maria, and feared that  she too would be attacked.

Plaintiff Maria S., another woman in the small group, also witnessed Barnett kicking Ana Maria, and feared that  she too would be attacked by Barnett or by his large dog.

The papers claim that Barnett did not tell the plaintiffs that they were trespassing, nor were there any trespassing signs that the plaintiffs saw. It was also reported in the suit that between the years 1999-2002,  there were about 40 reported incidents to US Border Patrol where Barnett “illegally detained immigrants.”

Barnett isn’t a stranger to controversy however. He is known for catching immigrants on his Arizona ranch and patrolling the property.

In one interview he was quoted talking about trespassers:

Oh, yeah. Several times you can just feel the hate in their eyes and you don’t want to turn your back on them or they would hurt you. They’re illegals. We don’t get hold of mules [drug runners], I mean they run so much faster… I yell at them and they don’t stop a bit. I’ve only caught one – scared the shit out of him so bad he passed out on the side of a mountain.

MALDEF did not answer phone calls inquiring about the status of the suit.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.