When Brisenia Flores and her father Raul were shot to death by Shawna Forde and Gunny Bush, two anti-immigrant activists with ties to the Minutemen, they weren’t asked for their papers. The goal wasn’t to observe, document and report as Jim Gilchrist, the leader of the Minuteman Project, has said in trying to distance himself from his associates charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of aggravated assault. The goal was to use violence against a family viewed as expendable to help further their cause of using violence against those viewed as expendable.
Something that tends to happen when the media covers these types of horrors, is double victimization. In an effort to answer the question why, subtleties, like how immigration has been racialized and how Latinos, painted as immigrants, are criminalized and dehumanized, get swept under the rug. For example, it’s not enough that Raul Flores is remembered as a generous, good father. He also has to be linked to the drug trade as justification for the crime committed against him, that took him and his child away from this world. This sort of information does nothing to shed light on the disgusting act of hate, instead it creates the opportunity for people to say, well he sort of deserved it.
I don’t live in a bordertown like Arivaca, where Brisenia and her father were murdered. Pero I live in an immigrant community, and I as a Latina am often read as immigrant, as are my children. I do not wear my passport or my birth certificate, or my criminal record on my back and it’s a very scary reality that my children could be Brisenia, that I could be her mother, now in a hospital grappling with the reality of losing a child and husband all because of who they were.