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AZ immigrant rights activist not surprised by Giffords shooting

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Thursday, January 13, 2011 0:56 EDT
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The level of violence that took the life of nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green in Tucson, Arizona Saturday is less than shocking to those close to the immigrant rights community, according to an area civil rights leader.

“It’s something that we’re familiar with,” Salvador Reza of Puente Arizona told Laura Flanders of GritTV in an interview Monday.

He continued, “We’re familiar because every day children lose their families. I think this has been coming along because of the planet of hate and vitrol that is happening every day, not only in Arizona but nationwide.”

Reza mentioned that three people associated with the Minutemen, a right-wing anti-immigration group, are suspected of killing nine-year-old girl Brisenia Flores and her father in Arivaca, Ariz. in 2009 “under the pretext of fighting illegal aliens.”

Both girls were killed in Pima County, Arizona. Flores’ alleged killers are currently awaiting trial; Green’s accused murder is being held without bail, charged with five federal crimes for a shooting spree that left six dead and 14 wounded.

When asked whether it is fair to compare the two murders, Reza replied, “No man is an island.”

“They are a product of whatever messages go out in the environment,” he said.

Reza commended Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik for standing up not only against the hate-filled political rhetoric in the media but also Arizona’s anti-immigration laws.

“I think he’s very brave,” he said. “I think more politicians should be like him and actually say what they think because there is so much intimidation by the state senators here.”

Reza, who has been repeatedly harassed by the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio for non-violently protesting the sheriff’s anti-immigrant sweeps, suggested that politicians need to re-evaluate their language.

“Count to 10. Take a deep breath,” he said. “Think about what you’re saying.”

The state of Arizona stands to lose $752.4 million in business and tax revenue as well as 4,236 jobs due to its Republican legislature’s decision to pass anti-immigration laws, according to the Center for American Progress (PDF).

This video is from GritTV, broadcast, Jan. 11, 2011.

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