Opinion | Morgan Liddick: No sanctuary for the slain
Timothy Cruz was minding his own business at a Denver light rail station in the early morning of Feb. 7 when he was shot to death in a robbery gone sideways. His death is doubly tragic because it shouldn’t have happened. Not because murder shouldn’t happen, but because his murderer shouldn’t have been here.
The accused murderer, illegal immigrant Ever Valles, was in the Denver County Jail but was released on Dec. 20 despite pleas from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials that he be detained for them to pick up and deport. They described him as “… a known gang member whose gang history is documented in the Colorado gang database.” To no avail; Valles was released and Mr. Cruz paid the price.
This incident exposes the values of Denver’s political leadership, which has wholeheartedly embraced the “sanctuary” movement. None more so than mayor Michael Hancock, who earlier this month claimed the moral high ground, crowing that, “If being a sanctuary city means that we value taking care of one another, and welcoming refugees and immigrants, then I welcome the title.” One wonders what Mr. Cruz might say, but being a victim of the policy, he is now without voice.
Nor is he alone. Early last November, promising young lawyer Karina Pulec was mowed down by Norlan Estrada Reyes, a previously convicted and deported illegal immigrant from Honduras who returned to Denver to drink, drive and murder by truck. Who now speaks for her while the mayor postures?
Elsewhere, Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy issued a memo to his state’s authorities on Feb. 22 telling them to ignore federal law regarding illegal immigrants. Two days later, Oscar Obedio Hernandez, a previously deported illegal alien from El Salvador, murdered his estranged wife Nidia and kidnapped her 6-year-old daughter Aylin.
Other cases have popped up in the past few years from San Francisco to New York; Mesa, Arizona to Des Moines, Iowa. According to statistics provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee by ICE, over 100 murders were committed between 2010 and 2014 by illegal immigrants previously convicted of crimes but released from jail and not deported. They also noted that, of the 36,000 illegal immigrants released from custody in 2013, over one thousand have committed new crimes. Yes, it’s a small percentage of the wider number. But to the victims of these crimes, their families and friends, it is not small. And it is worse for knowing that, had our laws been faithfully executed, their loved ones would still be well and whole.
That is the reality ignored by Mayor Hancock, Governor Malloy, Senate Minority Leader Schumer and others of their ilk, who are perfectly happy to grant themselves moral superiority in embracing those who arrive and remain here in violation of the law. The very real carnage wrought by their posturing is inconsequential to them.
This is hardly a new problem in American politics; its roots go back to 1799 and the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions. Penned by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, these two mischievous documents proposed the doctrines of nullification and interposition: the first states that individual states have the right to declare federal laws null and void; the second, that states may protect their citizens from federal actions. Originally designed to counteract the Federalist government’s odious “Sedition Act,” these legal theories proved harder to kill than zombies. Through the decades they were used by states to fight the federal government on whiskey taxes, tariffs and the abolition of slavery.
After the Civil War seemed to have rendered them moot, they were resurrected by Southern Democrats to establish and defend segregation. Killed again in the late 1960s, they have recently been restored to favor to protect recreational drug use and people living here illegally.
Keep this in mind as you watch Donald Trump address Congress Tuesday evening. His Democrat opponents have determined to create a stir by inviting immigrants to the speech as their guests; They will be used as political pawns to tug at the heartstrings and the media will doubtless fawn over them. But what you are really watching is nullification and interposition renewed: Every “sanctuary city,” every outcry against the Constitutional exercise of federal law to regulate immigration and control the country’s borders is a recapitulation of the argument that individuals, cities and states may do as they please, and the laws be damned — no matter the cost. Timothy Cruz’s friends could tell them about that cost, if any now sweating to protect the imagined rights of criminal illegal aliens cared to listen.
But they don’t. And that’s a moral failure as well as a fatal legal folly.
Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County. His column appears every Tuesday in the Summit Daily News.
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