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March 18, 2015 9

Arizona Shooting Spree Suspect May Have White Supremacist Connections

After a man­hunt that lasted sev­eral hours and involved mul­ti­ple police depart­ments, author­i­ties in Mesa announced the appre­hen­sion of a sus­pect believed respon­si­ble for mul­ti­ple shoot­ings in Mesa on March 18 that killed one and injured at least five more.   The sus­pect in the shoot­ings has been iden­ti­fied by media reports as Ryan Elliott Giroux.

Ryan Elliott Giroux

Ryan Elliott Giroux

Giroux has a past crim­i­nal his­tory, includ­ing a stint in state prison.  A Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions mug shot from his time in prison reveals that Giroux likely is or was a white suprema­cist, based on his facial tat­toos.  Giroux had the words “skin” and “head” tat­tooed on his eye­brows, while next to his left eye is a promi­nent “88” tat­too.  The numer­i­cal sym­bol “88,” which stands for “Heil Hitler” (because H is the 8th let­ter of the alpha­bet), is one of the most popular white suprema­cist tat­toos in the United States.

Giroux also has a Celtic knot­work tat­too on his chin.  Such tat­toos are pop­u­lar with white suprema­cists, though also used by others.

The shoot­ings began at a motel in Mesa around 8:45am, where two peo­ple were shot, one fatally.  The shooter went to a nearby restau­rant, where he allegedly shot a woman and stole a car.  Other shoot­ings occurred as the sus­pect tried to evade appre­hen­sion.   Mesa police offi­cers even­tu­ally tracked down and appre­hended Giroux.

The motive for the shoot­ings is not yet known.

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February 3, 2015 3

House Judiciary Committee Extends Invitation To Sheriff Paul Babeu

The House Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee, which held a meet­ing on Feb­ru­ary 3 on the enforce­ment of immi­gra­tion laws in the U.S., invited Sher­iff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Ari­zona to tes­tify. Babeu is known for his anti-immigrant views and claimed that many of the undoc­u­mented immi­grants cross­ing the bor­der have crim­i­nal back­grounds. Babeu is a con­tro­ver­sial figure.

Sheriff Paul Babeu

Sher­iff Paul Babeu

In the sum­mer of 2014, when there was a surge of chil­dren flee­ing to the United States across the Mex­i­can bor­der, Babeu report­edly leaked details of where some of those chil­dren would be bused in Ora­cle, Ari­zona, to receive social ser­vices. This led to chaos when about 80 anti-immigrant activists con­fronted school buses filled with chil­dren in the town and tried to halt the buses. Some held signs that said, “Return to Sender.” It turned out, how­ever, that the school buses were filled with local chil­dren head­ing to YMCA camp. Local media chas­tised Babeu for stir­ring up trou­ble in the town. In response, he said that he was just inform­ing the public.

Babeu has courted con­tro­versy on other occa­sions too. In 2012, when five bod­ies were found in a burned-out SUV in Pinal County, he declared that the deaths appeared to be related to a drug car­tel. Later on, author­i­ties learned that the inci­dent was actu­ally a murder-suicide of a fam­ily from Phoenix and unre­lated to drugs.

In addi­tion, Babeu has appeared on extrem­ist shows. In July 2010, he was a guest on “The Polit­i­cal Cesspool,” a white suprema­cist show, where Babeu talked about immi­gra­tion and bemoaned what he referred to as the inva­sion of Ari­zona. After Babeu’s appear­ance on the show became pub­lic, he claimed he did not know about the show’s politics.

Accord­ing to media reports, he also appeared on Alex Jones’ radio show. Jones is one of the most promi­nent con­spir­acy the­o­rist in the United States, and has been respon­si­ble for spread­ing and pop­u­lar­iz­ing a wide vari­ety of con­spir­a­cies, the major­ity espous­ing some form of anti-government view­point. Babeu report­edly spoke about an inci­dent in which his deputy was allegedly shot by mem­bers of a Mex­i­can drug car­tel. Although Babeu exploited the deputy’s story to jus­tify Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant bill, SB 1070, the deputy was later fired for allegedly mak­ing false state­ments about the incident.

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March 7, 2014 5

Anti-Immigrant Movement Dealt Three Major Blows In One Day

Ear­lier this week, two U.S. Supreme Court orders and a set­tle­ment agree­ment out of South Car­olina dealt major blows to the anti-immigrant movement’s agenda.supreme-court-east-facade

On March 3, the Supreme Court declined to hear appeals by the cities of Hazle­ton, Penn­syl­va­nia, and Farm­ers Branch, Texas, let­ting stand lower court rul­ings that had struck down both cities’ anti-immigrant ordi­nances.  Hazle­ton and Farm­ers Branch gained national noto­ri­ety when they passed ordi­nances bar­ring undoc­u­mented immi­grants from rent­ing prop­erty in the towns. 

In both cases, lower courts struck down the ordi­nances as uncon­sti­tu­tional and pre­empted by fed­eral law.  The Supreme Court’s orders deny­ing the appeals requests end the legal bat­tles, which have been ongo­ing since 2006, and secure a per­ma­nent vic­tory for immi­gra­tion and civil rights groups. 

On the same day as the Supreme Court’s orders, South Car­olina offi­cials set­tled a law­suit with immi­grant and civil rights groups over the state’s anti-immigrant laws.  In 2011 South Car­olina passed a law sim­i­lar to Arizona’s SB 1070 that, among other things, required local law enforce­ment to inves­ti­gate people’s immi­gra­tion sta­tus if they had rea­son to believe the per­son was undocumented. 

The pro­vi­sion, com­monly known as “papers please,” effec­tively required local law enforce­ment offi­cers to func­tion as immi­gra­tion enforcers.  In a let­ter sub­mit­ted to the court signed jointly by the Attor­ney Gen­eral and the Solic­i­tor Gen­eral, ear­lier this week South Car­olina agreed that local law enforce­ment would not hold peo­ple purely to deter­mine immi­gra­tion sta­tus.  The let­ter fur­ther con­ceded that the law does not per­mit state and local offi­cials to arrest or hold any­one believed to be undoc­u­mented “for any pur­pose, even to trans­fer the indi­vid­ual to fed­eral custody.”

The Supreme Court orders and South Car­olina set­tle­ment are major defeats for the anti-immigrant move­ment and its “attri­tion through enforce­ment” agenda. In the early to mid-2000s, the move­ment crafted this agenda, also known as “self-deportation.”

The goal was to make life so dif­fi­cult for immi­grants that they would “self-deport” from the city or state and move to another, or ulti­mately back to their coun­try of ori­gin.  Kris Kobach, the Kansas sec­re­tary of state and a lawyer with the Immi­gra­tion Reform Law Insti­tute (IRLI), the legal arm of the extreme anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tion Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion Reform (FAIR), is the mas­ter­mind behind attri­tion through enforce­ment and one of the lead­ers pro­mot­ing the agenda today. Kobach helped to draft and defend the ordi­nances in Farm­ers Branch, Hazel­ton, and many other cities as well as Arizona’s SB 1070 law.

The Supreme Court orders and South Car­olina set­tle­ment are part of a wider trend of defeat for the anti-immigrant move­ment.   Since the begin­ning of 2013 there has been a major decline in anti-immigrant leg­is­la­tion intro­duced at the state level nation­wide. Pro-immigrant leg­is­la­tion is on the rise and the anti-immigrant move­ment is on the defense, attempt­ing to stop this influx of leg­is­la­tion instead of con­tin­u­ing to draft “attri­tion through enforce­ment” bills. These lat­est devel­op­ments send a clear mes­sage to the anti-immigrant move­ment and state and local leg­is­la­tors that anti-immigrant leg­is­la­tion not only divides com­mu­ni­ties but it does not hold up in court.

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