Questions Linger in Murder that Drove AZ Immigration Policy

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The Los Angeles Times examines the unsolved 2010 shooting death of Rob Krentz, 58, an Arizona rancher whose murder near the Mexican border was used to justify the state’s harsh immigration laws. He was found shot to death and slumped in his ATV 30 miles the border. No incident has hardened feelings about illegal immigration in Arizona more than the slaying of Krentz, head of one of the oldest ranch families in southeast Arizona. It was the impetus less than a month later for the passage of the “show your papers” law, which required police to ascertain the immigration status of anybody suspected of being in the U.S. illegally and helped cement Arizona’s reputation as the country’s toughest state on immigration.

Seven years later, the slaying still resonates, often invoked in local arguments for the massive wall that President Trump has proposed along the border with Mexico. Usually lost in conversations about Krentz is that it’s far from certain that his killer or killers were in the U.S. illegally. The investigation has identified suspects from both sides of the border. In recent months, as southern Arizona is again embroiled in the debate over stepped-up border security and stronger measures against illegal immigration, his widow, Sue Krentz, has reemerged on the public scene, this time as a vocal advocate of an expanded border wall.

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