The report from the WaPo is no surprise.
Hispanic Activists Cite an Uptick in Threats of Violence
By Darryl Fears
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 6, 2008; A02
Andrea Bazán said she has thick skin and is not easily frightened by death threats. But when the Hispanic activist arrived home one day to find her voice mail packed with profanity, and when she noticed a man watching her house in Durham, N.C., from a white commercial van with no license plates, her heart started to pound.
On a recent Monday night, she said, an unidentified man pounded on the front door of her house, frightening her. About a month earlier, on Labor Day, her house was broken into, and the smoke detectors were removed. "I am a mother. . . . I was scared," said Bazán, president of the Triangle Community Foundation in Durham and a board member for the National Council of La Raza. "I've been open with them about the fact that sometimes I have a bodyguard."
For some Hispanic activists such as Bazán, this is life on the front lines of the debate over illegal immigration. Leaders of the largest Hispanic civil rights groups -- the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and La Raza -- have received anonymous threats of violence and death. Bazán's home address and the names of her daughters were posted on a Web site.
Last month, a Raleigh man was convicted and sentenced to 45 days in federal prison for e-mailing death threats to La Raza and a Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Christopher Michael Szaz, 42, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of sending e-mail threats, and the U.S. attorneys said his prosecution was a message to others that sending anonymous threats and racist e-mail is a federal crime. Szaz, who said he was drunk when he sent the e-mails, must also perform 100 hours of community service at a Hispanic or a Muslim organization.
There are no statistics that specifically track threats against Latino activists. But leaders of several groups cite anecdotal evidence of increasing attempts at intimidation. "We've seen a rise in threats directed at Hispanic groups," said Janet Murguía, president and chief executive of La Raza. "We've seen a rise in hate groups. This is not just a feeling."
Some Latino leaders say the increased number of threats against Hispanic rights groups is part of a growth in attempts to intimidate Latino people. The FBI reported that hate crimes against Hispanics rose from 595 to 819 from 2003 to 2006, the year of the massive immigration demonstrations...more