When we released our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus, “(P)reviewing the Right-Wing Playbook on Immigration Reform” a few weeks back, one of the tactics we highlighted that the Right has used in that past to oppose any effort to reform our immigration laws is to try and “portray immigrants as criminals and terrorists“:
An important part of the far right’s anti-immigrant rhetorical tactics during previous immigration debates at both local and national levels was portraying undocumented immigrants as criminals responsible for new waves of crime (a persistent portrayal not backed up by crime statistics) or as potential terrorists. Rep. Steve King, for example, has called “illegal immigration” a “slow-motion Holocaust,” and a “slow-motion terrorist attack on the United States.”
To see this tactic in action today, one need look no further than the recent murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, who was shot to death while tending his land on Saturday. Nobody has been arrested and authorities have no idea who may have killed Krentz, though various theories are floating around:
One, a drug cartel scout. The Chirachua mountains in southeast Arizona are 11,000 feet tall, rugged and remote. It is a popular drug corridor and the killer may have been clearing the way for a load of drugs moving north when Krentz surprised him.
Two, the suspect belonged to a band of thieves terrorizing the remote ranches spattered around the area — an idea supported by other ranchers.
“Two days earlier a 9mm and a 9mm Glock had been stolen from a home in Portal,” said rancher Roger Barnett. “There is no way to know for sure it was the murder weapon. But the bullet the killed Rob and his dog was a 9mm.”
Three, retaliation. The day before the killing, Krentz’s brother Phil stopped a caravan of illegal immigrants carrying 280 pounds of marijuana. All eight were arrested by the border patrol and the pot was impounded.
But just because nobody has any idea who killed Krentz or why, that is not stopping anti-immigration activists from blaming President Obama:
Tom Tancredo happened to be visiting Cochise County (Arizona) when the shooting occurred on Saturday. Longtime rancher Robert Krentz was found shot to death in his all-terrain vehicle, with the engine still running. Investigators believe he was attacked by a single perpetrator, probably an illegal immigrant.
Tancredo, who now serves as chairman of The Rocky Mountain Foundation, believes the border is clearly not secure.
“Anybody that tells you that is a liar,” he contends. “And the people who have been ignoring this problem for now years have blood on their hands.”
The Foundation chairman says several things must be done, including resuming work on the border fence that President Obama halted.
The former U.S. lawmaker suggests that “a layered barrier — a fence, a road and another fence” be constructed. “That’s a strong barrier. Not just vehicle barriers — that’s all they’ve got around on the Krentz ranch. This guy wasn’t driving a car. He was walking, and he killed Bob Krentz. We need a physical barrier, and we need the National Guard,” Tancredo urges. “It’s a war zone. People are dying.”
Tancredo adds that now that Obama and Napolitano are talking openly about pushing a new amnesty program, the border invasion has resumed.
Ken Blackwell likewise dedicated his latest column to the topic, using the murder as a justification to blame the Democrats and oppose their efforts at reform:
The tragic murder of Robert Krentz shows just how abysmally the federal government has failed us all in this regard. Secretary Napolitano needs to admit that the system did not work. And President Obama had better drop the hyper-partisanship to address immigration in a way that meets Republican demands to uphold the rule of law and not reward illegal behavior.
This is not the time for far-left pandering or promises of amnesty in the galling hopes of political gain. Nor is this the time for cramming through a law instead of beginning a long, slow, deliberate conversation with the opposition party and the American people. This is the time for addressing a serious problem for this country, a problem that quite clearly includes a deadly threat to our citizens.
Let me note again that nobody has any idea who committed this murder or why … except those on the anti-immigration Right, who already know that it was an illegal immigrant and it was all Obama’s fault.