This is Brenda Paz. She was 17 years old when MS-13 brutally murdered her in Virginia for agreeing to testify against the gang in a federal capital murder case. You probably don’t recognize her, which is fine, unless you watched really closely at about second 16 in that repulsive Tancredo ad when they showed this exact picture of her (courtesy of the Shenandoah Police Department) while the scary-voiced narrator says “pushing drugs, raping kids, destroying lives” about illegal immigrants. The fact that they used this picture of Brenda is not only sorta sick, since I know they didn’t have her family’s permission, but also rich with irony because Brenda was probably not a legal immigrant herself.
[Full disclosure: My ex was Brenda’s guardian ad litem and attorney when she was cooperating with authorities, testified in her place at the trial she was killed to prevent her from testifying at, and testified at her murder trial. I remember this case pretty well, so I’m not going to source it, but read this if you want to know more.]
Yeah, basically, the writers of this offensive ad probably just went through newspaper and picked out photos of people killed in Latino gang-related violence without asking their families or anything if it was cool to use their pictures in an advertisement bashing on illegal immigrants and illegal immigration. That’s pretty uncool. But, it’s also particularly uncool because, in this case, the girl pictured is a minor. She was killed by the gang she was a part of because, at least to a degree, as an illegal immigrant she and her family lived their entire lives on the margins of society and had difficulty getting things like, say, education or health care because of fears of being deported.
She joined a gang when she was 12 by having the shit kicked out of her, spent the next 5 years avoiding the cops and deportation until she decided to try to go straight and started cooperating with authorities. When the gang killed her for that, she was 17 and pregnant. She was just learning, actually, that being Latino in America didn’t have to mean being sub-human or living on the margins of society. So, thanks, Tancredo ad writers, for using without permission the image of a dead, pregnant 17 year-old Latina who was only barely learning that white people don’t hate all Latinos to illustrate your fucking racist piece of shit ad. Rot in hell.