Ranch Rescue

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Ranch Rescue is a volunteer organization that assists ranchers and owners of property near the United States-Mexico border in the protection of their property. Ranch Rescue operates on private property at the behest of the owners.

SPLC lawsuit

In 2003, two illegal immigrants from El Salvador alleged that they were chased, detained, threatened, and assaulted by Ranch Rescue members after being caught trespassing on a private property.

They also said that they were given water, cookies and a blanket before being released after about an hour.[1]

Subsequently, the illegal immigrants brought a civil lawsuit against the Ranch Rescue members, Ranch Rescue, and the ranch owner. They were represented by attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, among others. In 2005, the SPLC obtained judgements totaling $1 million, including against the Ranch Rescue's leader. In addition, there was a $350,000 judgement in the same case and a $100,000 out-of-court settlement. An Arizona property, where Ranch Rescue's headquarters were located, was seized.

In an action considered by some to be in response to this civil award, Arizona voters passed Proposition 102 (2006), preventing illegal immigrants from collecting punitive damages.