Anti-immigration Group Asks Federal Judge To Dismiss Harassment Case

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 8:09am
Updated: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 9:21am

Lesa Antone
Matthew Casey/KJZZ
Lesa Antone, founder of Patriot Movement AZ.

An Arizona anti-immigrant group has asked a U.S. District Court judge to throw out a harassment case against them.

Patriot Movement AZ is the larger of two groups accused of harassing churches and volunteers who take in immigrants dropped off by ICE officials.

Jennifer Harrison
Matthew Casey/KJZZ
Jennifer Harrison of AZ Patriots and Patriot Movement AZ.

A lawyer for the group claims his clients’ actions are protected as free speech. He also accused the churches of illegally harboring and helping individuals falsify political asylum claims.

Larry Wulkan, an attorney for the churches and volunteers, called that claim baseless.

"Our clients provided food, clothing and basic medical care to people who are in this country with the permission of the United States government," he said, "It's incredible to suggest that the defendants should be excused for breaking the law under such circumstances."

The lawsuit states that members of Patriot Movement AZ began intimidating church members and volunteers for the last 11 months as immigrants arrived by busloads from overflowing detention centers.

A second group named in the case agreed in September to stop harassing the churches.

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