Mark Steyn: Speaking of sanctuary cities, where's ours?
At the funeral of Iofemi Hightower, her classmate Mecca Ali wore a T-shirt with the slogan: "Tell Me Why They Had To Die."
"They" are Miss Hightower, Dashon Harvey and Terrance Aeriel, three young citizens of Newark, New Jersey, lined up against a schoolyard wall, forced to kneel and then shot in the head.
Miss Ali poses an interesting question. No one can say why they "had" to die, but it ought to be possible to advance theories as to what factors make violent death in Newark a more-likely proposition than it should be. That's usually what happens when lurid cases make national headlines: When Matthew Shepard was beaten and hung on a fence in Wyoming, Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times that it was merely the latest stage in a "war" against homosexuals loosed by the forces of intolerance. Mr. Shepard's murder was dramatized in plays and movies and innumerable songs by Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, Peter, Paul and Mary, etc. The fact that this vile crucifixion was a grisly one-off and that American gays have never been less at risk from getting bashed did not deter pundits and politicians and lobby groups galore from arguing that this freak case demonstrated the need for special legislation.
By contrast, there's been a succession of prominent stories with one common feature that the very same pundits, politicians and lobby groups have a curious reluctance to go anywhere near. In a New York Times report headlined "Sorrow And Anger As Newark Buries Slain Youth," the limpidly tasteful Times prose prioritized "sorrow" over "anger," and offered only the following reference to the perpetrators: "The authorities have said robbery appeared to be the motive. Three suspects – two 15-year-olds and a 28-year-old construction worker from Peru – have been arrested."
So, this Peruvian guy was here on a green card? Or did he apply for a temporary construction-work visa from the U.S. Embassy in Lima?
Not exactly. Jose Carranza is an "undocumented" immigrant. His criminal career did not begin with the triple murder he's alleged to have committed, nor with the barroom assault from earlier this year, nor with the 31 counts of aggravated sexual assault relating to the rape of a 5-year-old child, for which Mr. Carranza had been released on bail. (His $50,000 bail on the assault charge and $150,000 bail on the child-rape charges have now been revoked.) No, Mr. Carranza's criminal career in the United States began when he decided to live in this country unlawfully.
Illegal aliens are a protected class in this country. Regardless of what they do, liberals like Geraldo Rivera just to name one, will go ballistic if you even suggest that illegal aliens should be deported when they are found. He along with many others, including Republican Senators, mis-characterize those of us who want our laws enforced and God forbid we bring up an immigrant's legal status when he commits a crime. Geraldo falls all over himself proclaiming that it's not an illegal immigration issue, it's a criminal issue and plenty of Americans commit crimes too. We must not single out illegals or we're branded as racists and lumped in with the KKK and neo-Nazis. It is a shame a tragedy like the one in Newark had to happen before the elected officials decided to do something.
NEWARK, N.J. - The execution-style slaying of three college students in a quiet, leafy part of Newark has galvanized this crime-weary city.
Mostly, it's brought determination to quell the street violence that has already claimed 60 lives this year.
But the illegal immigration status of one of the suspects is prompting a divisive debate here about what role local police should play when they encounter people they suspect are in the US illegally.
Currently, federal authorities encourage local police to alert them if the police arrest someone suspected of being undocumented, but officers aren't required to. Many cities like Newark have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy about immigration status, in order to encourage cooperation with police and the reporting of crimes in immigrant communities.
But the arrest of Jose Lachira Carranza, an illegal immigrant from Peru who was out on bail awaiting trial on assault and child rape charges, has raised new questions about such policies.
A Newark city councilman says he'll introduce legislation that would require police to alert federal authorities immediately when they arrest on a felony charge anyone they suspect is illegal. Opponents say that would only instill fear and more distrust of the police in this richly mixed ethnic city, discouraging witnesses and victims from reporting crimes.
One could, I suppose, regard this as one of those unforeseen incremental consequences that happens in the darkest shadows of society. But that doesn't extend to Newark's official status as an illegal-immigrant "sanctuary city." Like Los Angeles, New York and untold others, Newark has formally erased the distinction between U.S. citizens and the armies of the undocumented. This is the active collusion by multiple cities and states in the subversion of U.S. sovereignty. In Newark, N.J., it means an illegal-immigrant child rapist is free to murder on a Saturday night. In Somerville, Mass., it means two deaf girls are raped by MS-13 members. And in Falls Church, Va., it means Saudi Wahhabists figuring out that, if the "sanctuary nation" (in Michelle Malkin's phrases) offers such rich pickings to imported killers and imported gangs, why not to jihadists?
"Tell Me Why They Had To Die"? Hard to answer. But tell me why, no matter how many Jose Carranzas it spawns, the nationwide undocumented-immigration protection program erected by this country's political class remains untouchable and ever-expanding.