In researching another topic, I stumbled across a column I wrote three years ago.
That was back in the days before Personal Liberty Alerts started sending my musings to more than 500,000 people every week. No, in the fall of 2007 I had just 1,000 or 2,000 readers, most of them were probably named Wood.
So the column below didn’t reach very many people. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to run it again. Because the message it contains is quite literally a matter of life and death for every one of us. See if you don’t agree. Here it is.
Like me, you were no doubt sickened by the news from Newark, New Jersey that three young college students, Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey and Iofemi Hightower, were ruthlessly murdered at a school playground. Each was forced to kneel on the ground and then shot, execution-style, with a bullet to the brain.
What you may not have heard is that the person accused of the crime, a 28-year-old thug named Jose Lachira Carranza, was in this country illegally — and the authorities knew it. His alleged colleague in this heinous crime is also an illegal alien.
Moreover, this was not Carranza’s first or only vicious assault. He had been arrested just one month earlier and charged with repeatedly raping a 5-year-old girl and threatening to kill her family if anyone called the police. A year earlier he was charged with assaulting patrons at a bar.
One of the better commentaries I’ve read on this topic is by former House Speaker (and soon to be presidential candidate?) Newt Gingrich. In his weekly column, he wrote, “There is a war here at home and it is even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Far more Americans are being killed by violent, evil people here in America than in our official military ‘combat zones’ overseas.
“The truth is, all too many Americans are being killed. But what is so completely senseless is having the lives of three young, achieving college students cut brutally short by someone who not only should not have been in the United States in the first place but also, after two previous arrests for violence, should not have been on the streets. Instead, the suspected killer should have been in jail awaiting trial, sentencing, prison and eventual deportation.”
And then Gingrich reminds us of a story I’d almost forgotten:
“New Jersey was already in the news for its failure to protect its citizens from illegal aliens when the federal government arrested six would-be terrorists for plotting to kill U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix. We soon learned that three of them had been illegally in the U.S. for 23 years, during which they had been charged by the New Jersey police more than 75 times. And still, our government never discovered they were here illegally.”
The former congressman then points his finger at the real culprit:
“…the government of the United States is not protecting the people of America.”
“The federal government’s incompetence, timidity and uncoordinated efforts to identify and deport criminal illegal aliens have had devastating consequences for innocent Americans.”
Rather than just rail against injustice, though, Gingrich proposed a solution to this tragic situation. He called for new legislation, named after the three murder victims in Newark. “The Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey, Iofemi Hightower Act” would do five things:
- It would demand that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security develop a real-time identification system to check the legal status of every felon in America.
- Every person arrested for a felony will be checked against the Federal database. Unless there is positive evidence they are American citizens or are here legally, they will be detained. If they are here illegally they will be deported. (This sounds remarkably like what the citizens of Arizona asked their police to do, doesn’t it? We know how Washington reacted to that.)
- And here’s one I love: Any city, county or state that refuses to participate in checking every felony arrest will immediately lose all of its Federal aid. (Hey, San Francisco, that would mean losing a bunch of taxpayer money, wouldn’t it?)
- No illegal alien will be released back into the population at large to prey upon new victims. After they finish the time for their crime, they will be detained until they can be deported. (A question from Chip: Why feed and house them at our expense? Let’s send them back where they came from immediately.)
- All current prisons in the U.S. will be screened to identify those who are here illegally. The illegal alien prisoners will be deported to their countries of origin once they’ve completed their sentences. (I repeat the question I asked above: Why keep ‘em here at all? Let’s send them back just as soon as the courts say we can.)
- I’ve argued in the past that it’s usually a mistake to ask the Federal government to solve a problem. In my experience, every time they try they create new problems that are bigger and more costly than the one they promised to eliminate. In the process, the budget gets bigger and the bureaucracy gets more bloated. A good rule of thumb is, Don’t feed the monster.
But this is an approach I can endorse. After all, what is government’s first and most sacred obligation? Isn’t it to protect its own citizens from assault; to guard against attacks on our persons or threats to our property by “all enemies, foreign and domestic?”
No, we can’t prevent every crime by every illegal alien. But we can make certain that, once caught, he never gets a chance to prey on an innocent victim again… at least, not in this country.
I’ll let you know when (or if) the Aeriel-Harvey-Hightower Act gets introduced in Congress. And what happens when it does.
Back To The Present
Of course the legislation Gingrich proposed has never seen the light of day in Congress. Instead, all of the publicity recently has been about Barack Obama’s determination to stop Arizona from doing precisely what the former Speaker demanded our Federal government do to protect all of us.
At the end of his column three years ago, Gingrich wrote, “We should demand more of our leaders — or we should get new leaders.”
That’s still a good idea — even though I suspect he is one of the “new leaders” he’s talking about.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
— Chip Wood