Last weekend, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) held its third annual Sheriff Border Summit. FAIR hosted sheriffs from around the country to learn about anti-immigrant policies, network, and meet with a border vigilante group.
One of the speakers was former Arizona sheriff and anti-government extremist Richard Mack.
— FAIR (@FAIRImmigration) October 30, 2015
Building on the meeting with the border vigilante group Texas Border Volunteers, Mack’s presence only further solidifies the FAIR summit’s lawless bona fides and undermines the group’s claims that it has organized a legitimate law enforcement training event.
Bundy Ranch meets Border Summit
Richard Mack has been active in the far-right, anti-government “Patriot” movement for more than two decades – first during his stint as sheriff of Graham County, Arizona where he sued the federal government over a 1993 handgun violence prevention law, and now as leader of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA). CSPOA supporters embrace Mack’s view of county sheriffs being the sole legal authority that can protect citizens from the federal government — a central belief of the racist, conspiracy-mind
Mack is perhaps known to most, though, for his prominent role in the April 2014 armed standoff with federal agents at the ranch of tax-delinquent rancher Cliven Bundy.
The standoff attracted heavily armed far-right activists from across the country to Bundy’s Nevada ranch, including militiamen and members of the strident anti-government group Oath Keepers. Mack serves on the Oath Keepers’ board of directors and traveled to Bundy’s ranch, where he revealed plans to use women as human shields in the event shots were fired.
“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front,” Mack told Fox News. “If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.”
To some of the sheriffs attending FAIR’s border summit, Mack was likely a familiar face. At least one sheriff in attendance, A.J. Louderback of Jackson County, Texas, was photographed alongside Mack at a December 10, 2014 press conference in Washington, D.C. organized by Sheriff Tom Hodgson with FAIR’s assistance.
FAIR may disingenuously claim their events merely “familiarize people from around the country, particularly law enforcement with the issues pertaining to the border,” as FAIR Media Director Ira Mehlman told The Monitor ahead of last week’s summit.
By hosting extremists like Richard Mack, however, FAIR’s actions once again belie their words.