As DC Debates DACA, Grant Ronnebeck Family Still Mourns

Grant Ronnebeck was murdered by Apolinar Altamirano, who was in the country illegally. [Photo courtesy Steve Ronnebeck]

Three years ago today Grant Ronnebeck, a young convenience store clerk, was murdered by a man, Apolinar Altamirano, who was in the country illegally. The memory of 21-year- old Grant has not faded, and the pain of his loss has not ended.

Grant’s father Steve has spent the years since Grant’s death fighting fearlessly in his memory for border security and against the reckless government policies that allowed a madman like Altamirano to roam the streets.

Altamirano, age 31, was a DREAMER when he shot Grant as he was counting the change Altamirano had spilled on the counter to pay for his cigarettes at the QuikTrip near Stapley and Broadway, in Mesa, Arizona. Altamirano pulled out a gun and opened fire, killing Grant and the dreams his family had of his bright future.

Steve shared his thoughts on the eve of the anniversary of his son’s brutal murder:

So I sit here reading about the government shutdown…….and all I think about is the 3 yr anniversary of Grant’s murder is Monday!!!!!! And as everyone remembers GRANT WAS MURDERED BY A DACA RECIPIENT!!!!!!!!!!! The monster that executed Grant in cold blood was a dreamer brought here when he was 14!!!!!! I have never once said all illegal immigrants are bad, but a lot of them are CRIMINALS!!!!!! I miss my son every single day, my family has been devastated and ripped apart!

So let me have my say and I’ll take the consequences………without a wall on the southern border and extreme tightening of security, arrests, and deportation of illegal aliens coming across the southern border, DACA is an issue that can be dealt with in March or even later in the year. YES DACA IS IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!! But again we need to stop the flow and importation of drugs, humans, illegal goods, and CRIMINALS AND PRIOR CONVICTED FELONS that have been previously deported.

So very tired of the Democrats blaming Trump for their unconstitutional agenda to take back control of the government. WE NEED TO DRAIN THE SWAMP! Stop the corruption!!!!!

My final point and I’ll shut up…….. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT CRIMINALS ARE NOT PROTECTED BY THE CONSTITUTION, we cannot illegally immigrate to any other country in the world and be afforded any protection or rights under thier country’s constitution or laws!!!!!!!!!! Grants death was preventable, he should be here!!! Executed by a criminal illegal alien who was protected by an unconstitutional and illegal executive action written by an unconstitutional, corrupt, and criminal President Obama!!!!!!!!

Thanks for letting me Rant I’m sorry if I have offended anyone, I miss my son.

Altamirano, a citizen of Mexico, was charged with burglary in 2012, but the Maricopa County Attorney’s office allowed him to plead guilty to an amended charge of facilitation to commit burglary and he was placed on probation for two years. A judge had ordered notification of U.S. immigration officials, and Altamirano was given bond by federal immigration authorities after pleading guilty to the lesser charge. On May 28, 2014, an Order of Discharge from Probation – Misdemeanor Designation was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court for Altamirano.

Altamirano was arrested for the murder of Grant. He was charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, burglary, unlawful flight and misconduct involving weapons because he is a prohibited possessor. To this date, he has not faced justice. Altamirano remains in jail, and Grant’s family remains in limbo.

Insult to injury

Last year, Steve watched as Sen. Steve Smith pleaded with his fellow lawmakers to pass Grant’s Law.

Smith’s bill, SB1279, required “courts to sentence persons convicted of a misdemeanor or felony to the maximum term of imprisonment or full presumptive sentence if it is determined that a U.S. immigration offense was an aggravating factor and makes such persons ineligible for probation, suspension of sentence, community supervision, commutation or release on any basis until the sentence imposed is served,” according to the legislative overview.

Republican senators, Bob Worsley, Frank Pratt, and Kate Brophy McGee voted against the bill.

“I said at least have the common courtesy to tell these people; these family members, why you’re not giving justice to their families. Stand up and explain their vote. Do you know how many explained their vote? Zero,” said Smith in an interview on the James T. Harris show.

Smith had called on the senators to explain their votes to Steve, who was watching in the gallery above the Senate floor along with the families of others who were killed by illegal aliens. The three senators refused to look at the families and the police officers who had joined them in support.

“I think it is just sad that we have a bill that will directly help families in our state and in our country, but because of one political pressure or another, that I haven’t heard yet, you’re going to go ahead and defeat this bill,” Smith said to the senators. “If that sits well in your conscience, let it sit well.”

After the floor debate, Worsley and Brophy McGee had the gall to complain to the press about Smith’s comments. Apparently, they were made to feel uncomfortable.

Still hope for change

In a video published a few months after that floor debate, Steve recounts the day of Grant’s murder and discusses other victims of criminal illegal aliens. “No parent wants their child to be remembered for what happened to them so I don’t think I want him remembered for that,” said Steve referring to Grant’s murder, “but I’m hoping that he can be remembered for the for the smile. For all the people’s lives that he made better; whether it be for two minutes at work; whether it be his brother that he impacted for the rest of his life; for me who he impacted the rest of my life. I want him to be remembered as the kind heart and the smile and just the good person he was and then secondarily I’d like him to be remembered for getting the change that will prevent somebody else from having to go through what me and my family had to go through.”

For his part, Sen. Smith knows that trying to pass the bill this year is fruitless. Worsley, Pratt, and Brophy McGee will never budge on the bill – especially one that the chamber of commerce finds uncomfortable. After all, any bills related to illegal immigration might dry up the cheap labor some of the more powerful chamber members’ thrive on.

It being an election year, the Worsley, Pratt, and Brophy McGee types need all the help they can get from the deep-pocketed chamber types.

Smith, now a candidate in the Congressional District 1 seat, hopes to unseat Rep. Tom O’Halleran, a staunch open borders advocate. Until Mr. Smith goes to Washington, he is urging senators Flake and McCain to support Rep. Andy Biggs’ federal version of Grant’s Law.

In January 2017, Biggs (AZ-05) introduced Grant’s Law to end the “catch and release” of illegal immigrants who have been arrested for deportable crimes.

Arizona Republic columnist, Laurie Roberts wrote shortly after the bill was introduced:

Grant Ronnebeck was killed on Day 745 of Altamirano’s wait for a deportation hearing.

Since then, Ronnebeck’s father, Steve, has been the one to wait, hoping that the sacrifice of his son might prompt our leaders to finally do something to fix this insanity.

“Biggs’ predecessor, then-Rep. Matt Salmon, tried. Shortly after Ronnebeck’s death, he introduced Grant’s Law in Congress, proposing to end the “catch and release” policy that allows the Altamiranos of the world to walk free. It went nowhere.

Now it is left to Biggs to try again.

To figure out a way to hold and more quickly deport serious criminals who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place.

It just shouldn’t be controversial to get these guys off the streets — if not when they’re arrested then at least when they’re convicted..

Yet it’s been two years and still our leaders have done nothing about the inescapable, uncomfortable outrageous fact that the only way to get Apolinar Altamirano off the streets was over Grant Ronnebeck’s dead body.

After Biggs’ bill passed he said he thought it would bring an “improvement in public safety because all communities around the country will have a measure of safety. If somebody is a known criminal, for instance, we’re going to take them off the street.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, issued a statement condemning the bill. “The Republicans can attempt to mask these bills as necessary measures for our ‘public safety,’ but law enforcement officials all across the country agree that the bills will not do anything to protect individuals.”

Grijalva did not offer his own solutions or proof for his claim. Grijalva relies on emotion rather than facts to defend his open border policies and rejection of any immigration reform.

Facts can be inconvenient

A very controversial study was released this month that found:

■ Based on data from 1985 to 2017, undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of crime than other Arizonans.

■ Undocumented immigrants tend to commit more serious crimes and serve 10.5% longer sentences than do U.S. citizens.

■ Undocumented immigrants are 163% more likely to be convicted of 1st degree murder than are U.S. citizens, 168% more likely to be convicted of 2nd degree murder, and 189.6% more likely to be convicted of manslaughter. Those three categories and negligent homicide added up to 987 convictions.

■ Undocumented immigrants are also much more likely to commit sexual offenses against minors, sexual assault, DUI, and armed robbery.

■ Young convicts are especially likely to be undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants born after June 15, 1981 are eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). While undocumented immigrants from 15 to 35 years of age make up a little over two percent of the Arizona population, they make up almost 8% of the prison population. These immigrants also tend to commit more serious crimes.

■ Undocumented immigrant criminals are 45.4% more likely than other criminals to have been gang members, and 133% more likely to receive sentencing enhancements for being classified as dangerous.

■ These numbers may give an artificially low estimate of the share of crime committed by undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants may commit many of their crimes against each other, and their victims may be afraid of calling the police or testifying at trial because of their undocumented status.

■ While undocumented immigrants are more likely to be convicted of crimes, they also exhibit extremely low recidivism and criminal history rates. Among criminals who are U.S. citizens, a small subset keeps going in and out of prison. Among undocumented immigrants, a much larger proportion go to prison once or twice and then never return to prison. 24.8% of U.S. citizens were admitted five or more times in the Arizona Department of Corrections, but that same number is only 2.95% for undocumented immigrants. The evidence suggests that these individuals leave Arizona after being incarcerated.

■ If undocumented immigrants committed crime nationally as they do in Arizona, in 2016 they would have been responsible for over 1,000 more murders, 5,200 rapes, 8,900 robberies, 25,300 aggravated assaults, and 26,900 burglaries.

■ For the entire 1985 to 2017 period, undocumented immigrants were 142% more likely to be convicted. A useful comparison can be made to Hispanics. In 2014, Hispanics accounted for about 37.6% of those in prison and about 28.8% of the Arizona population. That means their incarceration rate exceeded the overall state imprisonment rate by about 31%.

■ In comparison, documented immigrants (Legal Permanent Residents) were extremely law-abiding. They made up only 1.5% of the prison population in 2014, while a rough estimate indicates that their share of the state’s population is about 3.9%. This suggests that lumping together documented and undocumented immigrants provides a very misleading image of both groups.

While Lott’s study has been questioned, the National Review reported:

“About 240 illegal aliens were imprisoned for homicide-related offenses. In 2009 there were 3,484 total inmates incarcerated in Arizona state prisons for homicide and related offenses (first degree murder, second degree murder, murder (old code), manslaughter, and negligent homicide). Removing the estimated 240 illegal aliens from that total leaves us with 3,244 citizens and legal residents imprisoned for homicide-related offenses out of a total population of approximately 6.3 million residents. The Pew Research Center estimates that approximately 350,000 illegal immigrants lived in Arizona in 2009. That leaves approximately 6 million citizens and legal residents in Arizona. This yields a rate of 68.57 illegal aliens imprisoned for homicide offenses per 100,000 illegal aliens in Arizona, and 54.06 citizens and legal residents imprisoned for homicide offenses per 100,000 citizens and legal residents in Arizona.

Numbers don’t tell the story

Grant Ronnebeck and his family are not statistics. And statistics, whether you buy them or not, do not tell the whole story. Grant’s dad has spent the last three years telling us his, and for that we should all be grateful.

On this day the only numbers that matter are the number of tears shed for Grant by those who knew and loved him. They are too numerous to count and too numerous to ignore.

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  1. This is all BS IMO. Yes they came as illegal kids, but as oracle notes if they are 18 or whatever the requirement is (since being a child keeps moving, I think they now define as 26YO!) if they have not submitted for legal residence that they need to go to country of origin wherever that may be. Yes they can join the military but they still do not apply for legal residency, that is why they are sent to wherever when they get discharged and are no longer protected by mil laws. The thing is the democraps want voters and will go to any lengths to get them. As noted they put them 1st not the USA. When people realized this was a DEMOCRAP shutdown the shmucker had to back off. Congress needs to get around to doing their job and putting the USA 1st, not illegals of any sort. They have 17 days left before another shutdown, take them have bipartisan discussions on the budget, do what is needed for the country then discuss daca. Illegal immigration can take a backseat at this point and states like kalif can go broke trying to prop them up and beware of anyone who tries to utilize fed funds to bail them out because of their stupidity. Set a true budget in the next 17 days then work on other stuff.

  2. So I’m curious what happen to immigrants that used to come, work, live for awhile and go back. What happen to those of Mexico that were not criminal. So repressed in Mexico they can’t get out.. I don’t think so. I think it’s drugs – lots of drugs – and the war on drugs is a failure. I say make the war on drugs a ‘war’ – they want one, I say give it to them – drones – airstrikes – counter invasion – strike at the meth labs – drug runner homes – families – towns – encampments – active war. Those who want no part of it, stay out of the way.

    • So I’m curious what happen to immigrants that used to come, work, live for awhile and go back.

      Those days are long gone. Now they stay. Work for cash. Educate their kids for free. Get child credit of $$$$ from the IRS. Wire the profits back to Meheeecooo. Tax free money, quadruple what they would earn in the S###hole Mexico. Just take it from the gringos. Cockroaches.

  3. The events as written, this “illegal alien” should be terminated… something they don’t do in Mexico.

  4. I’m afraid that if the courts don’t punish these criminal illegals severely, people may start to take the law into their own hands.

    • If legal US citizens do decide to take the law into their own hands, the law will come down on their heads, not on the criminal illegals. They should seriously consider that reality. Our government should take the initiative by rounding up and deporting all criminal illegal aliens and to arrest, try, and convict the government officials such as Becerra in California who is in open defiance against federal government.

  5. “Shutdown Schumer” has made a loud and clear statement that no matter the consequences, a united Democratic party values criminal aliens over law abiding citizens.

    The Oracle

    • It is not IRONIC that Sen. Schumer, Rep. Pelosi and the Democrat Party refused to meet their responsibility to pass a Federal budget, shutting down services to American citizens, including withholding the pay of military personnel defending our freedom around the world and using as an excuse for the shutdown “helping illegal immigrants,” IT IS CRIMINAL. However, no one should be surprised. Because their candidate lost the election to President Trump, the Democrat Party made it clear last year that they were not interested in performing their governmental duties and responsibilities in Congress but were engaged in a program throughout the country of “resisting” the operation of our duly elected government and the shut down was only the latest manifestation of this resistance effort to undermine the President to the obvious detriment of the country.

      • Actually, the Founders didn’t long for the dead-headed allegiance to political parties that prevails today (it is too bad, for example, that so many have abandoned intellectual integrity to support our racist serial sex-abuser in chief), but they did envision that COMPROMISE would be necessary to pass legislation.

        Hence the 60 vote requirement in the Senate.

        In other words, both parties have a responsibility to pass that Federal budget, and if the Dems choose to exhibit their backbones, then Republicans will compromise.

        Just you wait.

    • Criminal aliens?

      Dreamers followed the law.

      And they were brought here as children.

      These people are your neighbors. People who have worked with you, for you, around you for years. People who have risked their lives in the US military. People who have saved American lives.

      And these people, who have grown up around you and are no different than you other than they had the misfortune to be born on the wrong side of a line on a map…you would cast them out, “return” them to a country, a culture, a life they have never known?

      Maybe it makes you feel bigger to spend your time crushing the dreams of the less fortunate?

      • @ Danzigzag:
        Dan your beyond fricking clueless. Nice try, but I’ll raise to the point of order, despite your compassionate pleas of desperation, the “dreamer kids” they’ve never served a day in the US military. To enlist would require a US birth certificate, something providing proof of citizenship, something that they simply don’t have which is why they are subject to deportation in the first place.
        Not to be harsh but your first sentence is a bold faced lie, in fact your whole post is a delusional impassioned lie:
        These once upon a time kids are now adults and are by all legal definition, aliens from another country, their presence here on US soil is in violation of US law, is also a criminal act. So while you might find the terminology insensitive, they are simply put, criminals aliens.
        Liner many others, I am not without compassion, I’d be willing to entertain allowing those that applied for citizenship during the initial phase of DACA to remain providing that they have obtained their citizenship during the deferred action period.
        But sadly while your compassion is endless, so is the contempt for “our” laws and “our” way of life by these kids who are in truth adults. Because like father, like son these people may have arrived here as children, but as criminal alien children, they illegally and parasiticly leached “our” social services and “our” educational services funding through the misguided abuse of entitlements.
        Very few if any took this to heart and applied for citizenship under the deferred action period by Obama, the liberal socialist President, but suddenly the party of criminology was over with Trumps election, and since Trump isn’t pandering for votes, those very same “victims” who didn’t value citizenship once again become the victim of someone else’s behavior by failing to follow the law. Fortunately the world is half full of libtard idiots, this is where you feel obligated to come in and rally the cause of the less fortunate.
        They might have been brought here illegally as children, but they’ve stayed here illegally as adults. It’s the parents fault for bringing them here, its the voters fualt for Hillary’s defeat. Out of curiosity Dan, when is it their fault? When do thier failures become thiers?
        I’m sure as a staunch libtard genius your conditioned in the skillful art of distraction, deflection and denial. So going back to the original story. Please tell me why it was ok on humanitarian grounds for Grant Ronnebeck to be violently murdered in his own country by Apolinar Altamirano, a convicted criminal, a dreamer, a Mexican citizen, a criminal alien who never should have been here in the first place?

        The Oracle

        • Actually Oracle your comment about joining the military is not completely true. My late stepdad was French Canadian and didn’t speak English when he came to the US and joined the Air Force where he got his US Citizen ship. He ended up being on the Air Force Judo Team as well as an alternate for th e1968 Olympics.

          Back when I first went into the Army I served in Basic Training with Filipnos who didn’t have US Citizenship but were trying to get it while on Active Duty.

        • You are correct Howard, according to the USA Today, there are approximately 900 people under DACA activity serving in the US military.
          We keep moving the red line. Just build the wall.
          When will America stop giving one more last chance to criminals and finally secure or border?

          The Oracle

        • Oracle, I have no problem with them gaining the citizenship by serving in the military and as a matter of fact I think that should be the ONLY way they get citizenship by serving in the Military otherwise no blanket amnesty for them period.
          But them I am a firm believer that Citizenship should only be granted after serving in the military and only those who have served to be allowed to hold any type of public office.

          Gues I have read my favorite Heinlein nvoel Starship Trooper way too much. Lol

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