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Grant Ronnebeck: Father of man killed in Mesa's call to action against migrant caravans

Posted at 4:37 AM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 10:19:51-04

One East Valley man said he will be making a trip from Mesa to the border on Saturday as a call to action against the migrant caravans. 

Steve Ronnebeck's emotions are deeply rooted in his stance on immigration because police believe his son's killer was here illegally. 

"He was...the kid...his smile," Ronnebeck said. "He could just light up a room. It was that way from the day he was born."

That's what he remembers most about his son, Grant.

The 21-year-old was working at a Mesa QuikTrip three years ago when police say a man shot and killed him for a pack of cigarettes. That suspect was awaiting a deportation hearing and was in the country illegally.

Grant's father is now focused on the migrant caravans as thousands of people said they are fleeing horrific conditions back home. 

"Help us and not be against us because we do this out of necessity and we're not going to harm anyone," one woman said to a reporter who translated her words from Spanish. 

"The biggest concern is... we don't know who these people are," Ronnebeck said. 

Ronnebeck plans on taking a group of 'Angel Families' to the border on Saturday. 'Angel Families' is a phrase coined by President Donald Trump for those who have had a family member killed by an illegal immigrant. 

Ronnebeck said that he is not sure they will actually see the caravan, as they are still hundreds of miles away. But, said he hopes to educate anyone there by talking to them, not engaging in any violence, about how to enter the country legally. 

The Trump administration plans to dispatch troops to the border and they have been pressuring the Mexican government to stop the caravans and deport the thousands of migrants back home.

"I've never once said that all of them are bad," Ronnebeck said. "But, without the means to vet every single one of them and without the means to track entry and exit of our country, we are putting our citizens at risk." 

He has also started the Grant Ronnebeck Institute in his son's name. Ronnebeck describes it as a think tank for immigration policies.