Our VoiceCulture

Nativists & Tanton Network Disgrace Joaquin Luna Jr.’s Life & Death


Stephen Piggott • Dec 15, 2011

After the tragic suicide of undocumented immigrant Joaquin Luna Jr. late last month, the immigrant community as a whole came together in mourning.

The anti-immigrant movement in the United States also stood collectively, but instead of mourning his tragic death, they showed their more sinister side by lambasting the Luna family for their comments indicating that their son’s death could have been motivated by his undocumented status.

Barbara Coe, a longtime anti-immigrant activist out of southern California who is known for her outright racist remarks against Muslims and immigrants, stated the following in an email after Luna’s death:

“Yet another sicko yellow-belly coward illegal alien “sob story”? We wonder how law-abiding American citizen kids feel when they are denied ANY taxpayer funds for their college education while illegal alien lawbreakers are awarded their  American parents’ tax dollars??? This is just another PR stunt promoting an Illegal Alien AMNESTY. Although CCIR abhors and greives for ANY loss of life, if this illegal alien kid was so mentally deranged he could not not live without American taxpayer “freebees”, so be it. His LIFE and his DEATH is the responsibility of HIS parents – not legal American taxpayers [sic]” [emphasis is author’s own]

Ira Mehlman, spokesperson for the anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), took the same “blame the parents” position, stating:

“It ought to direct questions to the parents. You brought your son to this country, you knew that he was going to be living here as an illegal alien … and yet you did it anyway.”

Ruthie Hendrycks of the nativist group Minnesotans Seeking Immigration Reform (Minn-SIR), a group listed on FAIR’s website as a state contact, stated the following in an email circulated after the news of the suicide had broke:

“In this first article – the Family of a [sic] ill 18 year old hopes that they can forward the DREAM Act thru [sic] his suicide. Just imagine – if the agenda of many – was forwarded because someone who apparently had problems mentally – [sic] decided to kill themselves. This person apparently needed help – more help than just a free ride or discounted rate in College [sic] Personally – I think the family should be ashamed of themselves [sic] No DREAM ACT [sic]”

Inger Eberhart, board member for the anti-immigrant group Dustin Inman Society (DIS), yet another group listed on FAIR’s website as a state contact, wrote the following in a blog titled, “Its All Your Fault”:

“As proponents of legal immigration, we welcome those who desire to be a part of the greatest country known to man. We are eager to see the contributions that citizens and legal immigrants will make to our nation. However, we will not accept blame for those who choose to violate our immigration laws and suffer the most dire of consequences.”

Amongst many other qualities that nativists apparently lack en masse, it would seem that empathy and tact are chief among them. Are these really the people who we should be looking towards for direction concerning immigration reform—perhaps not.

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