The law enforcement policies of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and Newark Mayor Corey Booker — who have ordered the police officers under their authority not to inquire as to the immigration status of the violent criminals they arrest, let alone initiate deportation proceedings — are infuriating, but not unprecedented. As outraged as Newark, New Jersey, and the entire country are over the schoolyard executions of Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey and Iofemi Hightower, we cannot deny that we have seen this kind of thing before. There is, after all, a long and bloody tradition in this country of state and local political obstruction of federal law enforcement that pre-dates the Newark massacre.
Mr. Corzine and Mr. Booker should take note: their predecessors in this dangerous game have not come out well in the history books.
On Sept. 4, 1957, three years after the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround Little Rock’s Central High School to block nine black students from entering the school. It ultimately took a federal injunction, a police escort and paratroopers from the 101st Airborne to force Mr. Faubus to back down and get the three boys and six girls safely enrolled in the school.
On Sept. 20, 1962, James Meredith, a 19-year-old black student, tried to enroll at the University of Mississippi, but he was denied access to the school by Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett. Ultimately, President John F. Kennedy had to send in federal marshals to ensure Mr. Meredith’s entry and protect him during the ensuing campus violence.
The following fall, Alabama Gov. George Wallace made his infamous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” to prevent two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from enrolling in the University of Alabama. Miss Malone and Mr. Hood were only allowed into the school when Mr. Wallace was confronted by federal marshals, the U.S. Deputy Attorney General and a federalized Alabama National Guard.
Finally, in March, 1965, Dallas County, Alabama Sheriff Jim Clark ordered his police force to use tear gas, billy clubs and bull whips to deny black marchers their right to petition Mr. Wallace to protect black’s voting rights.
On and on the embarrassing story of state and local opposition to Civil Rights reads. Because of a combination of personal racial animosity and cynical political grand-standing, these villains of history neglected their sworn duties at a cost of violence or the threat of violence. Democrats and the open-border crowd risk following in their footsteps by subverting the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton. Such are the wages of cowardly political correctness.
Which brings us back to Mr. Corzine, Mr. Booker and the Newark slayings. Jose Carranza, the man charged with the three execution-style murders, is a career violent criminal, who was only on the streets because he was out on bail for sexually abusing a 5-year old.
But of course, Carranza was a criminal before he was ever charged with rape or murder. He’s an illegal alien, drawn to this community because of Mr. Booker’s policy of declaring Newark a “Sanctuary City,” in which illegal immigrants will never be identified or prosecuted — that is, in which federal laws will not be enforced. Just as Orval Faubus and Jim Clark tried to create “Sanctuary Cities” for racial separatists, so Mr. Booker — with the support of Mr. Corzine — have created safe havens for foreign criminals. Mr. Booker and Mr. Corzine are, respectively, the chief law enforcement officers of the city of Newark and the state of New Jersey. Their cynical policy of immigration non-enforcement — whether motivated by compassion, ideology, or crass political calculation— represents indirect complicity in the crimes committed by illegal immigrants in their jurisdictions. If Carranza is convicted, the families of his victims should file massive civil rights lawsuits against the Faubuses and Wallaces of their era.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that the Civil Rights crises above were all quelled by firm presidential leadership. Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy — like George Washington and Ulysses Grant before them — used military troops to enforce federal law and restore justice in recalcitrant communities. 40 years later, the parents of Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey, and Iofemi Hightower might well be wondering why President Bush failed to protect their children.
Rep. Tom Tancredo represents Colorado’s 6th district. He is the founder and former chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus.