ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell and ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski wrote this column appearing on Townhall.com on March 31, 2010.
The tragic murder of a Good Samaritan rancher in Arizona has people yelling for an effective response to this outrage. Although most illegal immigrants are just human beings that are desperately seeking to provide for themselves and their families, this murder shines a spotlight on the Obama administration’s utter failure to secure our borders and uphold the rule of law.
A top story on March 30 is that Arizona rancher Robert Krentz was apparently gunned down by an illegal immigrant. Krentz’s family has maintained a ranch in southern Arizona since 1907, and he was known as a compassionate man who gave water and medical care to illegal immigrants crossing his land from Mexico.
Krentz was found shot to death, slumped over his vehicle on his ranch. Police dogs tracked the shooter to the Mexican border 15 miles away, indicating that the shooter was almost certainly someone in this country illegally from Mexico.
The murder of this good man casts in stark relief the outrageous failure of President Barack Obama and Secretary Janet “the system worked” Napolitano to deal with the enormous problem America faces as a result of illegal immigrants. Perhaps if they weren’t so busy taking over the economy (which the Constitution forbids them from doing), they’d actually secure the border (which the Constitution requires them to do).
This outrage occurred just as the Obama administration plans on pivoting to the immigration issue, at the perfect time to try to create a wedge issue to scare Hispanics into voting Democrat in 2010 in order to mitigate the massive losses in Congress that Democrats are sure to suffer after more than a year of ramming through a far-left agenda with extreme partisanship.
Immigration is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed. There are approximately 12 million foreigners in this country illegally, creating serious problems for a whole host of issues, from education, to healthcare, to employment, to law enforcement.
And this issue must be addressed in a humane and compassionate manner. Most illegal immigrants don’t want to break the law. They’re just desperate to find work to provide for themselves and their families, and they know that America is a land of opportunity. So they break our laws to get here and stay here because they’re focused on making a better life for their families.
In tackling immigration, we need to always remember that most of these people don’t want to harm Americans; they just want to help themselves and their loved ones. And they’re desperate to do so.
But the United States is a prosperous land of opportunity only because we live by the rule of law. We’re a country that respects property rights and business contracts, and that encourages free markets and private businesses (at least until President Obama took office).
We’re also a country where lawbreaking is punished, and where violent criminals are held to account. Foreigners who murder innocent Americans in cold blood should receive the ultimate punishment, as a clear statement that such crimes shall be met with swift and sure justice in the United States.
Ronald Reagan once said, “A nation that cannot control its own borders is not a nation.” The Constitution tasks the federal government with controlling our borders, to maintain an effective immigration policy and to protect the property, rights, and lives of American citizens.
The tragic murder of Robert Krentz shows just how abysmally the federal government has failed us all in this regard. Secretary Napolitano needs to admit that the system did not work. And President Obama had better drop the hyper-partisanship to address immigration in a way that meets Republican demands to uphold the rule of law and not reward illegal behavior.
This is not the time for far-left pandering or promises of amnesty in the galling hopes of political gain. Nor is this the time for cramming through a law instead of beginning a long, slow, deliberate conversation with the opposition party and the American people. This is the time for addressing a serious problem for this country, a problem that quite clearly includes a deadly threat to our citizens.