Anti-Immigrant Leader Spearheading Effort to Oust Sheriff Dupnik

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik

Following the tragic shooting in Arizona, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik became the target of right-wing criticism when he noted that his state is “the mecca for prejudice and bigotry” at a local news conference. “I think that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol,” said Dupnik about the person suspected of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).

Dan Baltes of the Salt Lake City-based Americans Against Immigration Amnesty wasn’t too happy with Dupnik’s remarks. In fact, he is now spearheading an effort to recall Dupnik even though he is not even a resident of the state of Arizona where the sheriff lives and works.

The Pima County elections director has indicated that his efforts can indeed go forward. Fox11 reports:

In the wake of the Tucson tragedy, not everyone is thrilled with the job done by Pima County sheriff Clarence Dupnik. In fact, some want to remove him from office. Pima County elections director brad nelson announced this afternoon an effort to recall dupnik will go forward.

Salt Lake City resident Dan Baltes, head of Americans Against Immigration Amnesty, filed the appropriate paperwork, and can begin compiling signatures. Baltes said Dupnik’s comments on the day of the shooting spurred the decision to begin the process.

Watch the report:

It’s still unclear whether the hate and vitriol that Dupnik cited played a role in the Arizona shooting. However, Dupnik’s assessment of the environment in which Giffords was carrying out her work in Arizona was spot-on.

Meanwhile, groups like Baltes’ have contributed to the hate and vitriol which has spread across the nation. His own organization’s website once stated, “Many of those seeking amnesty refuse to assimilate to our culture or language and refuse to respect our citizens and laws. Rather, they demand we assimilate to them and their culture, teach our children their language and shamelessly fly their country’s flag over ours.”

Andrea NillIt also falsely claims that immigrants commit higher rates of crime, specifically sex crimes. At Glenn Beck’s rally last year, Baltes told USA Today, “It’s time for Americans to let themselves be heard instead of being spoken to or spoken for by people who don’t represent us…the government has a deaf ear to our best interests.”

The focus of Dupnik’s controversial statements was not immigration. However, it is no coincidence that Americans Against Immigration Amnesty is going after one of the most vocal critics of Arizona’s immigration law.

Andrea Nill

Republished with permission from the Wonk Room

Published by the LA Progressive on January 29, 2011
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About Andrea Christina Nill

Andrea Nill is an Immigration Researcher/Blogger for and The Progress Report at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Political Science with a concentration in Latin American Studies and Law and Society. Prior to joining the center, Andrea was a Communications Associate at the Immigration Policy Center where she founded the blog, Immigration Impact. Andrea was also a Communications Specialist at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), specializing in bilingual public relations. Andrea was born in Guatemala and grew up in upstate New York.