Italy's government instituted a major crackdown on foreign criminals last week, as political leaders sought to respond to public fury.
The immediate reason for bulldozing shantytowns near Rome and deporting some Romanians: the shocking murder of Giovanna Reggiani, the 47-year-old wife of a naval officer. On November 2, as she was walking home, she was beaten until she was unrecognizable and left for dead in a ditch by a 24-year-old Romanian gypsy. She later died in hospital.
In a remarkable gesture, Premier Romano Prodi sent a condolence message to the husband, saying the murder "had wounded the soul of all Italians."
He additionally empowered police to expel European Union citizens "for reasons of public safety."
Can you imagine President Bush taking similar actions after an immigrant crime against an American?
Neither can I. And Mr. Prodi is considered center-left in Italian politics.
In fact, Bush's most recent reaction to a horrific crime by an illegal alien was to take the criminal's side. He tried to stop the execution of the killer of Jennifer Erdman and Elizabeth Pena. The teens had been raped and murdered in the most brutal way imaginable. But Bush's concern was not for the families or justice—let alone the "soul of all Americans".
No, the Mexichurian President's worry was that his pals in Mexico City might be displeased. He further instructed Texas courts to review all capital cases involving Mexican nationals—which is not even his purview as the head of the executive branch.
But regardless of Bush, public awareness of American victims of immigrant crime has expanded greatly over the last year. The Mainstream Media [MSM] can no longer willfully ignore the worsening body count of US citizens the way it once did.
One example: Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, who—love him or hate him—took up the issue when others were afraid to do so.
By "take up the issue", I mean focus on one American victim at a time—putting a face on statistics about the preventable human tragedies that would not have happened had the government enforced our borders.
That viewpoint is the one I pioneered on the first website on the subject, Immigration's Human Cost, starting in 2003. Using photos of the victims has been crucial in emphasizing the loss and pain to real people, a meaning that numbers alone cannot convey.
I have used victim photos in the same way to tell the individual stories—for example, in the partial collection linked here.
Following is a list of just some of the Americans murdered by illegal aliens over the last couple years, some of whom were seen first on my website and VDARE.com:
(See also my article about law enforcement officers killed by illegal aliens, The Thin Blue Line Is Compromised at the Top.)
This mounting drumbeat of these victims' stories has steadily increased public awareness of the terrible price that ordinary Americans pay to maintain open borders and cheap labor for Bush's business pals. By the time that teenagers Tessa Tranchant and Allison Kunhardt were killed at an intersection in Virginia Beach last April, the issue had acquired some heat. O'Reilly confronted the Mayor of the city about its deadly sanctuary policy and had an on-air argument with anti-borders guy Geraldo Rivera that got a lot of media attention.
Let me stipulate: it's terrible that the public needs to hear about the crime victims of illegal aliens to grasp the fact that the 20 million foreigners of varying quality loose in the country pose a threat to all. For example, any one of us can be struck down on highways made more dangerous by drunk drivers who should not be here, period. Hispanic foreigners are far more likely than Americans to drive drunk—a fact which even NPR admits.
Now the cause of citizen crime victims has been taken up by other television reporters. One who has done a good job is Glenn Beck who last week discussed the many kidnappings in Nuevo Laredo. Heading that list were the disappearances of Yvette Martinez and Brenda Cisneros, two young women who crossed the border to hear live music at a club and never came home.
BECK: I have to—first of all, thank you for your service, sir. I can't imagine being a sheriff down there. Seventy people have been kidnapped since 2004, 25 still missing. Tell me about the two girls. They were young girls that were taken that you know about.
[SHERIFF RICK] FLORES: They had gone to a concert in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and they were on their way back when they were stopped, apparently by two municipal police officers, and told to get off—get out of the car. And they shoved them into a police car, and they kidnapped them.
What we know is information that apparently these two girls were then given to one of the drug lords as a—as a prize, if you will, for the drug lords. It just so happens... [Crime Intense on Mexican Border, CNN.com, October 29, 2007]
This case was first covered on VDARE.com in 2005, Mexico Meltdown Watch. More details of the girls' horrific kidnapping have become public since then.
You know that an issue has reached critical mass when a bogus study is hyped by the MSM. The agenda: to detract from the empirical evidence of increased crime that citizens see daily in areas inundated by illegal immigration:
"The conservative Federation for Immigration Reform [Sic, he means the Federation For American Immigration Reform] contends that while illegal immigrants make up 3 percent of the total U.S. population they make up 4.5 percent of the prison population. A study by the more liberal Immigration Policy Center, [The Myth of Immigrant Criminality and the Paradox of Assimilation] however, found incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants. [Police killing puts focus on illegal immigrant crime, by Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal, September 20, 2007]
Actually, the "study" referenced above is the usual crapdoodle. Its conclusions have already been dealt with by Ed Rubenstein in Facts and Factoids On Immigrant Crime. (See also his reply to Linda Chavez's letter on the subject.) For a clear-eyed response to Pollyanna fantasies about the absence of immigrant crime, see my article Beyond Willie Sutton, which illustrates that criminals have American Dreams too.
The issue of crime and public safety is critical in the immigration debate. When citizens see their community is no longer protected from foreigners who have moved in like ravening wolves, the issue gets personal and genuine outrage develops.
And there is a spillover effect for issues like driver's licenses for illegal aliens (opposed by 77 percent of voters). When Americans understand that illegal immigration is not a victimless crime, they are far less willing to dole out the benefits of citizenship to national trespassers and felonious identity thieves.
American immigration patriots are not doing badly this year—no thanks to President Bush, who is worse than useless. We have defeated the Senate's outrageous amnesty, swatted down the nightmare DREAM Act and convinced Senator Feinstein to withdraw her AgJobs dispensation from the farm bill.
That's an impressive track record.
Plus the Presidential candidates now feel compelled to discuss the issue that was earlier verboten. Even orthodox Republicans are trying to show their enforcement cred—for example, Romney's recent mailer promising to slash funding to sanctuary cities.
Still, we're a long way from that Italian bulldozer in the barrio.
Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. She admires Italians for their robust wines, fine earthmoving equipment and resistance to political correctness regarding immigrants.