While Republicans were focused on the kabuki-theater politics of the Iowa presidential straw poll last week, a tragedy with real implications for the nation’s -and the party’s — future was playing out on the other side of the country.
The night of Saturday, August 4, four young, college students were forced to kneel against a wall in a schoolyard in Newark, New Jersey.
They were then shot, execution-style, in the head. Three were killed and a fourth survived.
Just as the entertainment and free barbecue of the Iowa presidential beauty contest was getting underway, the news broke that the shooter in the Newark killings was an illegal immigrant who had recently been indicted for repeatedly raping a five-year-old relative and threatening the lives of her and her family.
He had also been arrested ten months ago for assaulting patrons at a bar. Fox News reported that the man’s illegal status had been known to officials since his previous arrests. And yet he was still out on the streets of America, free to kill, on a Saturday night in Newark.
For everyone who cares about the future of America, these killings of innocent Americans are a wake-up call.
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.
Americans are killed by violent criminals all too often, of course. But the senselessness and tragedy of these killings and too many others is that they were completely preventable. Their perpetrators were men who should not have been in the United States to begin with and, after multiple previous arrests, shouldn’t have been on the streets. Instead, they should have been in jail awaiting trial, sentencing, prison, and eventual deportation.
The contrast between the empty politics of our endless presidential-election process and the total failure of our government to protect the four young victims in Newark could not be more stark. No matter how big, painful, or urgent the problem — be it failing levies in New Orleans, failing schools in Detroit or failing bridges in Minnesota — we are trapped in politics as usual and partisan wrangling as usual.
When we need real change from our government, we are given excuses for failure dressed up as “comprehensive” reform.
When we need real solutions on the campaign trail, we are given consultant-written sound bites dressed up as political “debate.”
It’s time for the American people to present Congress and the president with a defining choice: Either Congress and the President want to defend innocent Americans from violent illegal aliens or they don’t.
Either Congress will pass a bill to establish a new system for winning the war here at home and protecting Americans from criminal illegal aliens or Congress will fail to act and we will know we need a new Congress.
The president should call Congress back for an emergency session for three days to pass a single, decisive bill.
It should be called the “Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey, Iofemi Hightower Act” in honor of the three young students who lost their lives due to their government’s failure to protect them.
Aeriel-Harvey-Hightower Act should be very simple and straightforward. Its central feature should be the development of a real-time identification system to check legal status of felons. The system should be measured against the speed of automatic teller machines and should be run by private-sector companies who know how to build and maintain real-time identification systems and how to combat fraud.
Every person arrested for a felony will be checked against the federal database, and unless there is positive proof they are American citizens or legal residents in America, they will be presumed to be here illegally and will be detained.
And any city, county, or state that refuses to participate in checking every felony arrest will immediately lose all their federal aid.
Real change will only come when we, the American people, insist on real change. An emergency session of Congress would be one step toward real change.
A law establishing a system for identifying felons who are here illegally and detaining them would be real change.
Having the government take responsibility for its failures would be real change.
More empty talk and more pious hand-wringing while doing nothing is just politics as usual.
We should demand more of our leaders, or we should get new leaders.
— Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, is general chairman of American Solutions.