An interview with the leader of the AZ Patriots, Jennifer Harrison.
By Shayne Tarquinio/Arizona Sonora News
Armed with signs that read ‘Respect our laws or we will deport you! No sanctuary for criminals’ and ‘Stop rewarding, start deporting,’ the AZ Patriots headed to the Tucson City Council meeting on Aug. 6., 2019.
The AZ Patriots are “average, everyday American citizens,” says leader Jennifer Harrison in a phone interview. “We stand up vocally for conservative issues and against a lot of the liberal agenda in Arizona and across the country.”
The day of the city council meeting, Harrison and a fellow AZ Patriot were in Tucson for unrelated reasons. However, once they became aware of the vote to include Proposition 205, the Sanctuary City Initiative, in the November election, the duo detoured to Walmart. There, they bought markers and signs, went to the meeting and filled out a request-to-speak card.
But they weren’t given the opportunity to speak—at least formally. Harrison says the mayor hand-selected three pro-sanctuary public speakers, “two of whom sung songs, one with a banjo, about how great sanctuary city was.”
“We were kind of appalled that the mayor wouldn’t allow everyone’s voice to be heard,” says Harrison.
And so, Harrison, wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and a bright pink tank top, began recording and letting her voice be heard.
“Respect our laws!”
“That is Congress’s job to change immigration laws.”
“You’re in direct violation to an oath you took to the United States constitution, Mayor Rothschild,” said Harrison as she stood up, defiant of the ‘boos’ and the jeering from other city council attendees.
One man even told her, “You’re in direct violation of being a jackass!” To which, the audience laughed.
Harrison says she found it funny that those in the room were laughing over her sign that said, ‘Respect our laws.’
“So ‘Green Shirt Guy’ is sitting there, and he goes into his choreographed, well-rehearsed laugh,” she describes.
Nick VinZant, a KVOA reporter at the time, panned to Alex Kack, soon to be known to the world as ‘Green Shirt Guy,’ who was laughing hysterically at Harrison in his bright, lime-green polo. And the video went viral.
What the media did not notice, says Harrison, was the lady dressed in blue, inching closer to the AZ Patriots and holding up a picture.
“She’s holding up a photograph and she’s trying to speak up too. Her grandson was murdered in a sanctuary city in California,” says Harrison.
Their message was that sanctuary cities are dangerous and deadly policies. Sanctuary cities protect undocumented immigrants, or ‘illegal aliens,’ as Harrison refers to them. Sanctuary cities prevent local law enforcement from asking about immigration status.
“In this case, the message was twisted,” says Harrison.
The media seems to do that a lot, according to Harrison. Besides being a platform for conservative issues, the AZ Patriots also serve as citizen journalists, broadcasting on their page “without the censorship of mainstream media.”
Recently, the AZ Patriots went down to Yuma to document the part of the border that was being used for illegal entry into the U.S. Harrison says that they saw and spoke (via translator) to mainly single men with children coming over either by themselves or with the help of coyotes.
“Mainstream media is retorting that all these people are running for their lives and they were claiming asylum because they feared death, or they’d be killed in their home countries,” she says. But instead, according to Harrison, most of the people were coming to the U.S. looking for work. The video can be found on their Facebook page.
Harrison’s fight against illegal immigration is also personal: Her mother is an Italian immigrant.
“To watch millions pour in unlawfully and politicians suggest that we give them free healthcare, free education, drivers licenses and every other reward for breaking our laws, and disrespecting our country … is a slap in the face to not only my mother, but every other legal citizen, or legal immigrant who has come through the proper legal channels,” says Harrison.
The AZ Patriots formed after seeing the disrespect Americans began displaying towards one another, especially after Trump was elected.
“To me, that’s just crazy,” says Harrison. “I want my kids and my grandkids to grow up in a free country. And we don’t all have to agree, but we do have to respect each other’s right to free thought.”
In November, Tucson voted against the Sanctuary City Initiative by an overwhelming 71 percent.
And so, to Green Shirt Guy, Harrison says: “Who’s laughing now?”
Check out the complimentary piece, a podcast piece on Alex Kack, also known as ‘Green Shirt Guy,’ and his fight for sanctuary.