- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 14, 2007

After the horrific, execution-style murders of three New Jersey youths in a schoolyard last week, police have arrested one man with no right to be in the United States and are searching for another. Peruvian national Jose Carranza, 28, now in custody, had previously been charged with raping a 5-year-old girl, yet was released despite his immigration status and despite the charges. The other suspect, 24-year-old Nicaraguan Rodolfo Antonio Godinez Gomez, was ordered deported in 1993 but has since accumulated a rap sheet of robbery, assault and weapons arrests in this country. Two minors are also in custody. The two adult suspects raise two separate policy issues: The question of whether illegal aliens accused of violent crime should ever be granted bail, and secondly the enforcement of immigration laws already on the books.

The unusual cruelty and senselessness of these murders has shocked even a crime-hardened city like Newark. The victims, three of whom were college students at Delaware State University, and a fourth, their close friend, were behind Newark’s Mount Vernon School the evening of Aug. 4 when a band of assailants announced a robbery. They shot 19-year-old Natasha Aeriel from behind and proceeded to line up Dashon Harvey, age 20, Terrance Aeriel, 18, and Iofemi Hightower, 20, along a wall. They killed all three execution-style with bullets to the back of the head. Only 19-year-old Natasha survived. She will require extensive plastic surgery because the shot which pierced the back of her head exited through her face.

By law and by common sense, illegal aliens with violent histories deserve the fast track for imprisonment. But one of the accused, known by U.S. officials to be in the country illegally, was granted bail after being charged with child rape. Illegal aliens by definition have already flouted civil law and thus should be considered a flight risk. Bail should be out of the question.

The other suspect, also an illegal alien, was 14 years past his deportation order, which makes his case a matter for law enforcement. Despite his history of violent behavior, he was released repeatedly. This is an abdication of responsibility in U.S. immigration enforcement. U.S. authorities and the elected officials who are ultimately responsible for policy will need to answer for the handling of the accused if the suspects are found guilty.

The last salient fact: The public has spoken time and again of the need to crack down on violent crime committed by illegal aliens. No interest group or lobby will stand in the way of finding and imprisoning illegal aliens who commit violent crime. Whatever one’s position on the larger immigration question, there should be common ground: There can be no place in the United States for these criminals.