July 1, 2015
I don't know anyone who wasn't horrified and heart-broken when news broke that 21-year-old Grant Ronnebeck, a good kid working hard, was shot dead while clerking at a QuikTrip store in Mesa in January.
I don't know anyone who wasn't angry and outraged to learn that the man eventually charged with the murder, Apolinar Altamirano, was in the country illegally and already had been convicted of felony burglary.
Good people disagree about a lot when it comes to immigration issues.
But I don't know anyone who wants to allow immigrants convicted of serious crimes to stay here.
Altamirano had been released on bond by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It's what the law allows. It shouldn't.
Rep. Matt Salmon wants to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Salmon has proposed legislation that, according to an article by The Arizona Republic's Daniel Gonzales, would require federal immigration authorities to detain undocumented immigrants accused or convicted of serious crimes and deport them within 90 days.
Since Grant's death we've learned that 121 undocumented immigrants who were released while awaiting deportation after committing crimes were later charged with homicides between 2010 and 2014.
That can't continue.
Allowing convicted criminals or those who are caught up in cases involving serious crimes to remain in the country not only puts people at risk, it poisons any reasonable debate we can have about how to deal with the millions of other undocumented men, women and children living in the country.
Salmon calls his legislation "Grant's Law."
Ronnebeck's dad, Steve, said of this, "We can't think of a better tribute to Grant than having a law named after him."
Especially if that law prevents another parent from having to live through what Steve Ronnebeck has had to live through.