Tucson Parade Crowd Unruly: Hispanics Not Buchanan Fans

By Myers, E. Michael | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 23, 1996 | Go to article overview

Tucson Parade Crowd Unruly: Hispanics Not Buchanan Fans


Myers, E. Michael, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


TUCSON, Ariz. - Pat Buchanan, wearing a black hat, rode a covered wagon along a rodeo parade route yesterday through booing, jeering Mexican-Americans upset with his call for a fence to help stop illegal immigration.

"It proved to me what I already know, I'm a controversial figure," Mr. Buchanan said later.

The candidate for the Republican nomination joked about his reception - "it was a tremendous outpouring of love and affection" - but the heckling and Spanish cursing appeared to worry the Secret Service and police.

Police arrested a photographer and an anti-Buchanan protester near the end of the Tucson Rodeo Parade, and were clearly anxious about the mood of the crowd, estimated to be in the thousands.

Mr. Buchanan, speaking later to reporters, defended his opposition to illegal immigration, a sensitive issue in this border state that holds a presidential primary on Tuesday.

"I am going to enforce the laws of the United States and I have no apologies for it," Mr. Buchanan said. "They can say what they want to, but every country has the right to defend its borders.

"I would supply a security fence along those areas where huge amounts of illegal immigrants run into this country at will. I would support the Border Patrol to the hilt."

Temperatures were in the 70s and the estimated three-mile parade route was packed with a festive crowd in bleachers and in lawn chairs along the dusty curb.

The crowd was dominated by Mexican-Americans, including many women with sleeping and crying babies and young children.

Horsemen, bands, wagons and marchers - including many in traditional Mexican costumes - were cheered and applauded.

The atmosphere became sullen and hostile, however, as the wagon carrying Mr. Buchanan came around the corner.

A chorus of boos rippled along the route while Mr. Buchanan, smiling gamely, waved.

In the back of the wagon with Mr. Buchanan, about a dozen supporters of the candidate yelled back, "Go, Pat, go."

As the jeering increased, the spirit of the combative candidate picked up. …

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