Illegal Immigration, Crime And Campaign '08

“It frustrates me that if someone comes here illegally, if they commit a crime, we don’t throw them out of the country.”  Rudolph Guiliani, Campaign Ad regarding the Newark triple murder.

The Republican frontrunner, Rudolph Guiliani, wasted no time getting on the airwaves about the murders of Terrance Aeriel, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey on August 4 in Newark, New Jersey.  Their execution-style murder in a school yard has drawn national outrage from a growing number of voters.  They are those that believe that the criminal justice system treats illegal immigrants too leniently.  All you have to do is look at the detention centers and jails throughout the country and you will see the dark side of lax immigration law enforcement.

Local police departments around the country are overworked and underpaid and dealing with the failures of the Immigration policy or lack of it in America.  When President Bush talked about immigration reform in the spring and summer, he admitted that there are about 1.2 million illegal immigrants in this country who continue to break the law –sometimes violently.  When I talked to my local Sheriff, Steve Cronic, several years ago, he put the number at about 800,000.  I think that the Sheriff was right then and the president is right now and this problem is increasing geometrically with every year that passes without an enforcement first policy. 

On August 10, President Bush announced a much tougher, enforcement first policy using the power he already had and the laws already on the books.  That is what the country has been asking for since 1996 and finally the administrations — democrat and republican alike — have heard the people.  Let’s hope it’s not too little too late. I received an alert asking me to send a fax to the White House thanking the President for doing this.  As a lady of polite society, I can’t print here the comments that were posted by others.  But the short version is, why thank the president for finally doing his job on immigration enforcement.  I get that anger, but if we are going to flood the White House and Congress with millions of phone calls, emails and faxes against what they are doing — then we should thank them when they finally get it right. Maybe our vote is what we will use to thank them.

In addition to the Guiliani campaign’s response the Newark triple murder, non-candidate candidate, Newt Gingrich said, “Far more Americans are being killed by violent, evil people here in America than in our official military ‘combat zones’ overseas.”  Rep. Tom Tancredo, who has championed this issue for years, held a news conference in Newark on Monday. The focus is on violent illegal immigrants and how they are handled within the system, but the millions of violations of driving laws and accidents causing injury and death make this a problem that affects every part of this country.

In “A ‘Comprehensive’ Solution to Illegal Immigration”, I told the story of Esmeralda Nava, a 4 year old girl who was an illegal immigrant and was raped and murdered by an illegal immigrant.  Bob Herbert of The New York Times wrote last week about the 100,000 murders committed in America since 9/11/2001.  His point was to bash the president’s war policies but this idea was put forth during the same week that most of the country was reeling from the Newark triple murders, so the question is how many of the 100,000 murders could have been avoided if we had been enforcing immigration policy?

It is impossible to answer that question accurately; however, in the case of Esmeralda Nava and of the Newark triple murder victims, they would not be dead if the immigration laws of the country were being enforced. 

In talking to commanders on the ground in Iraq and those who have come home, one of the mistakes that were made in the first 18 months after the fall of Saddam was not securing the borders of Iraq with Iran and Syria.  In those 18 months, the outside insurgents and Al Qaeda were able to enter the country illegally and wreak havoc in an already unstable Iraq.  Later on, I talked to a Marine major whose unit was assigned to secure the border between Iraq and Syria.  He commented to me, “I am ordered to secure this border, but it is illegal for me and my men to secure our own border.” While it may seem that the war in Iraq does not mesh with our illegal immigration issue here at home, border security is essential to secure the sovereignty of any nation. 

Illegal Immigration is now one of the top 3 campaign issues.  It has been at the top of the people’s minds for 10 years, but the mainstream media and the politicians are finally getting it.  When Sen. Saxby Chambliss appeared on my radio program he relayed what he said to the President regarding the outcry against the Senate immigration bill earlier this summer, he said, “Mr. President, these are your friends and my friends, these are your supporters and my supporters and regular folks on the street, these are not fringe people who are opposing this legislation.” Depending on where you live, it’s the War on Terror, Illegal Immigration and the Economy. Getting these issues right is of paramount importance.  The next 10 years will determine if we go the path of Western Europe or get back on the path of American exceptionalism. Will we be a country of law or a lawless country?  That is the question to be answered.