The Corner

Thus Always to Murderers

Illegal alien Humberto Leal Garcia was finally executed in Texas, 17 years after he was convicted of raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl. There was no real doubt as to his guilt, and just before his death he finally acknowledged his crime and asked forgiveness (though his final words were “Viva Mexico!”).

But the White House had tried to stop his execution on the grounds that he, as a Mexican citizen (he was brought here illegally at age two and lived here ever since — i.e., a Dream Act candidate), should have been informed by police of his right to contact his country’s consulate, like a super-Miranda warning. The Supreme Court rejected the administration’s stalling tactic (which Bush, to one’s surprise, also tried in an earlier murder case). The Mexican government and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights had demanded he not be executed and the White House said the execution would cause “irreparable harm” to U.S. interests abroad.

The legal basis for the attempt to save the life of this cretin was the 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice that the U.S. was violating treaty obligations by not informing Mexican murderers of their right to contact their consulates. The treaty in question is the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, specifically Article 36, which I call the Midnight Express provision. First, there’s the irony that the treaty also prohibits all consular involvement in the domestic politics of the host nation, a provision which Mexican consulates in the U.S. systematically violate as a matter of national policy. Secondly, the federal government has no business using a treaty to interfere in state criminal matters — a treaty cannot create individual rights within the signatory nations because it is concluded between national governments. If the Mexican foreign ministry doesn’t like what Texas is doing, it’s free to complain to the State Department, but absent federal law compelling states to comply with the treaty, there’s no recourse.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Sen. Pat Leahy has just introduced legislation to comply with the ruling of the International Court of Justice. I can’t imagine a bill like that going anywhere, but if it ever does, it would have to be coupled with a requirement that every suspect nationwide have his immigration history checked upon arrest — because, hey, we need to know if someone’s a foreigner, and which country he comes from, before we know whether to inform him of his right to contact a consulate. And we have  mechanism like that already, called Secure Communities, though New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts have refused to take part in. Also, we’d need to have in place the capacity to deport every single illegal alien who’s identified as a result of this process, even if he was arrested “only” for drunk driving.

So, there’s a deal I might be able to live with: a requirement that cops inform foreigners of their right to contact their consulates in exchange for universal immigration checks of suspects and universal deportation of all arrested illegals. Somehow I don’t think that’s what Leahy, Obama, the Mexican government, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the rest of the open-borders crowd have in mind.

Mark Krikorian — Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More