Anti-immigrant climate spurs killings

By Paul Teitelbaum, Workers World, June 25, 2009

Tucson, Ariz. - On May 30, three members of the local reactionary Minutemen organization invaded the home of Raul Flores in Arivaca, Ariz., murdering him and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia Flores, and wounding his spouse Gina Maria Gonzalez. The racists were dressed in military fatigues. They told the family that they were with the Border Patrol before they ransacked the house and shot them.

Local activists immediately recognized the three Minutemen who were arrested for this atrocity as part of the group that attempted to disrupt May Day 2009 activities in Tucson.

Residents of Arivaca say that the Flores family is well-known and well-liked. They described Raul “Junior” Flores as a good father and a generous man. (Green Valley News June 2)

Arivaca is a small town in Southern Arizona about 10 miles from the border, with a population of a little more than 1,000 people. It is constantly occupied by Border Patrol and Homeland Security agents, and is home to DHS/Boeing high-tech SBINET surveillance towers.

This racist killing follows on the heels of the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller and the attack on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., in which African-American security guard Stephen Johns was killed by a lifelong Nazi. These crimes are not the acts of “lone crazed killers,” as the media tend to portray them. They are the result of a racist, anti-immigrant climate whipped up by ultra-right TV talk-show hosts Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo and others, of the horrific ICE terror raids, and of the tax money allotted to keep racists like Sheriff Joe Arpaio in operation.

Thirty pieces of anti-immigrant legislation have been introduced in the Arizona state legislature since January. This includes the recent SB 1175, which would require cops in all the state’s cities, towns and counties to enforce federal immigration law, to ask every arrestee’s immigration status, and to turn undocumented persons over to federal agents if local charges are dropped.

SB 1280 would make it a felony to “conceal, harbor or shield from detection in any place” an undocumented person.

SB 1069 seeks to eliminate Ethnic Studies programs and multicultural student organizations from all schools in the state.

To add further to this atmosphere of racism and anti-immigrant fervor, a local humanitarian aid volunteer was convicted on federal charges of littering in a federal park for leaving one-gallon jugs of drinking water at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge; the water is meant to save the lives of undocumented immigrants crossing this wild, rough, dry area. This “crime” carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The message sent by the judge and federal prosecutors is clear: Do not attempt to do anything, even the most minor act, to show solidarity with immigrants.

As the capitalist economic crisis continues, the state of Arizona is cutting budgets for education, health care, and all other social programs. In the process it is eliminating the jobs of hundreds of state, county and city workers. Introducing anti-immigrant legislation and whipping up racist sentiment to coincide with the economic crisis are designed to sow divisions and fear among people and keep them from uniting.

But a fight-back movement is building, with youths, elders, students, teachers, workers—Black, white and Latina/os—coming together to demand an end to racism and immigrant-bashing.

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