Four unarmed Marines and one sailor were brutally murdered recently in Tennessee. That hits home to this retired leatherneck and thousands of other Stafford citizens serving at Quantico or other nearby military bases. Parents with children in service cringed hearing the tragic news that it was committed by a cowardly, demented American Muslim who spent seven months in Jordan and may have been radicalized.
And the Hispanic community remain outraged at the horrific crime committed by the undocumented Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez who admitted taking the life of Katherine Steinle in San Francisco. Sanchez had been deported five times with seven felony convictions.
Unquestionably the public remains concerned about how we locally deal with undocumented and immigrant crime while allowing our military protection.
Stafford is not a sanctuary city and Governor Terry McAuliffe’s spokesman Bryan Coy was quick to state his lack of knowledge of any sanctuary city in Virginia. Understandably, it’s not the best topic today for the liberal side of the aisle.
Coy did state, “The Governor believes in comprehensive immigration reform.” As well he should, along with every local and national official regardless of party. The question is whether they can responsibly legislate the immigration issue without decades more of vacillating inaction that colludes in getting our citizens murdered.
Even Virginia Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Sara Rodriquez refused to identify sanctuary cities or counties. She said, “ICE continues to work cooperatively with our local law enforcement partners throughout the country to develop policies and procedures that best represent all agencies’ efforts to uphold public safety.” With what has just occurred, they ought to.
According to Bill Kennedy of the Stafford County Sheriff’s office, if an illegal is stopped or detained and is found to be undocumented with a warrant, they are arrested and ICE is notified.
In an effort not to allow a San Francisco incident here, Rodriquez identified the implementation of a new initiative called the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). Now ICE issues detainers and requests for notification so illegals who meet “heightened” enforcement priorities are not released from prisons or jails into local communities.
May I suggest that stopping them at the border is perhaps more preemptive?
But does Virginia have actual sanctuary cities? Hispanic leaders and google suggest Alexandria, Fairfax County, and even the city of Richmond are some localities advocating the lack of increased scrutiny of their illegal immigrant community. But with recent events, Virginia officials shy away from acknowledging the ignominious moniker.
What’s interesting and telling in Stafford are the local arrest statistics only kept from a racial perspective. Kennedy says during the first six months of 2015 white males made up 62 percent of those arrested. Black males were 38 percent and 1 percent were others. For females it was 70 percent white and 30 percent black. These include non-Stafford residents. Perhaps the immigrant community has gotten the word about Stafford’s non-sanctuary attitude and tough but compassionate Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen.
But it’s disconcerting that our military on duty in Stafford and at Quantico remain unarmed. What’s worse is McAuliffe’s refusal to arm Virginia’s troops. What’s clearly needed is military vigilance and individuals like Delegate Scott Lingamfelter of Prince William, a 28-year Army combat veteran, sponsoring common sense legislation to responsibly arm them.
Lingamfelter called the President’s comments about the recent lone gunman in Tennessee “feckless.” The brazen legislator up for reelection had the intestinal fortitude to call it like it is.
Due to such mounting pressure, President Obama finally ordered all flags at half-mast in honor of the victims.
Credit Lingamfelter’s moral courage, but what must also be referred to as feckless is the Republican Party’s failure to secure our southern border and responsibly deal with the immigration issue. Intra-party squabbling tragically has prevented them from instituting a viable guest worker program when they controlled both houses of congress or the presidency.
Now the tea party wing of the Republican Party, led by former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and company, again appear poised to divide and destroy any chance for conservatives to unite, making it very difficult for any substantive conservative victory in Virginia in the near future.
When that occurs, expect an increase in undocumented crime, more American Muslim extremist acts, and legitimate sanctuary cities in the Old Dominion. Then watch both sides of the aisle move quickly to once again arm our military.
Daniel Cortez, a distinguished Vietnam veteran and award winning writer/broadcaster, is active in veterans and political affairs with an independent voter perspective. He can be reached at email@example.com.