To The Deceased Icon Of Arizona’s Right Wing, An ‘Illegal’ Was A Human Being

The death of Robert Krentz last march, allegedly at the hands of drug smugglers (no one knows for sure), became a rallying cry for right-wing proponents of Arizona’s recently passed draconian, anti-‘illegal’ immigration law.

The Arizona Republic paper reports that there is evidence that Krentz was providing assistance to an “illegal” immigrant in need when he was shot and killed.

That day, according to the June 16th article , “Krentz radioed his brother and asked him to contact authorities because he was with an immigrant in need of help.” The article adds that several people “heard that transmission.”

Krentz was a leading white rancher who was concerned about ‘illegal’ immigrants and complained publicly about damage they did to his property. Yet he had a reputation for providing significant aid for the immigrants:

the soft-spoken rancher bore no ill will toward illegal immigrants, according to friends and family. They say Krentz sympathized with their desire for a piece of the American pie. He gave them food and water if they were in distress, and sometimes he’d call the U.S. Border Patrol, which meant deportation but also guarantees of medical assistance and escape from possible death. “If they come and ask for water, I’ll still give them water,” Krentz once told PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly in 1999. “You know, that’s just my nature.”

When faced with a fellow human being in trouble, his decency did not falter. He did the humanitarian thing. It might be good, too, if our white politicians would follow his humanitarian lead and not retreat to screaming nativism.