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.

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