DOUGLAS, Ariz. — Ambushed by a suspected drug smuggler on March 27 as he worked an isolated corner of his 35,000-acre cattle ranch, Robert Krentz became the symbol of the violence that illegal border crossing is inflicting on the people who live along Arizona’s border with Mexico.
The Cochise County rancher’s murder galvanized public support for S.B. 1070, the Arizona Senate’s tough anti-illegal immigrant bill. Public outrage at the shooting was enough to win the bill a majority in both houses of the Arizona Legislature and receive Gov. Jan Brewer’s signature, which transformed it into the state’s controversial new law.
That supporters of the legislation selected Krentz as a symbol and focal point for that outrage was an ironic choice. An overflow crowd of more than 1,200 friends, relatives and local and state dignitaries from both sides of the border, led by Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, attended his memorial service. They remembered a man with compassion for anyone, including illegal migrants, in need of his help.
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