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Father of man killed in Mesa launches immigration think tank

(Ronnebeck Institute Photo)

PHOENIX — Three years ago, Steve Ronnebeck’s son Grant was fatally shot in Mesa, allegedly by a man living in the country illegally.

Now Steve is launching the Ronnebeck Institute to study immigration policy, border security and criminal activity.

As part of the think tank’s launch, Ronnebeck is leading a group of “Angel Families” — relatives of victims killed by immigrants living in the country illegally — to the U.S.-Mexico border to confront the migrant caravan that is traveling through Central America to the U.S.

According to a news release, the think tank believes there are violent criminals, including ISIS members, within the caravan, which it sees as a threat to national security.

Trump has echoed this claim, but a senior counterterrorism official told CNN there is no evidence of the caravan posing a terrorism threat.

Co-founder Courtland Sykes and senior adviser Jessica Vaughan are the other members of the think tank, which lists policy goals such as building “the wall” and ending sanctuary cities.

Grant Ronnebeck’s family has been pushing for tighter immigration laws since his 2015 death.

His alleged killer Apolinar Altamirano, who is currently in custody, had been convicted of felony burglary while being in the country illegally. He was released from custody after posting bond in 2013.

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona introduced a bill named after Grant in 2017 that would end the “catch and release” of immigrants in the country illegally who are arrested for deportable crimes.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit

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