Feds watching anti-immigrant extremists (by Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY)
Carl D. Wynn Jr., who last fall posed as a U.S. border agent and wrongly suggested that a Little Rock construction company had hired illegal immigrants, has come to symbolize how the divisive immigration debate can progress from legal expressions of opposition to offensive action.
Wynn, also accused of attempting to sabotage the same company by planting tire-ripping spikes outside the business, has quickly come to represent a "troubling" development within the radical ranks of the anti-immigration movement, said Little Rock U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin, whose office won a guilty plea last month from the laborer.
Since 2000, the number of extremist groups has increased by 40%, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which closely tracks the groups' activities. In the past two years, the growth has been largely driven by the emergence of about 144 "nativist" groups that oppose immigration.
"When folks try to take law enforcement matters into their own hands, it creates a potentially dangerous situation," Griffin said. "Mr. Wynn's actions are troubling to us."
Charles Frahm, FBI deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, said there is increasing concern that the most radical elements of the anti-immigration wing may be "susceptible" to recruitment by white supremacists and other groups inclined toward violence.