“From This Root, Justice Will Grow”
For years, people have heard me say that “I want to rip Obamacare out by the roots as if such act had never been enacted.”
Well, today, the House of Representatives took a step towards placing a Root in the law. A Root named Sarah. By passing “Sarah’s Law,” a law I wrote in honor of Iowan Sarah Root, the House has enhanced the government’s ability to keep dangerous illegal aliens locked up and off of our streets.
And I am confident that from this Root, Justice will grow.
Sarah Root was a beautiful young woman and an exceptional student. She graduated from Bellevue University with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in Criminal Investigation. She had her entire life in front of her: a life that was to be dedicated to preserving the Rule of Law.
But all of that ended on the night of January 31, 2016, when an illegal alien killed her. Sarah had been celebrating her recent college graduation with friends. As she was driving home, her car was violently rear-ended by a drunken illegal alien involved in a street race. The illegal alien, who had a history of prior encounters with law enforcement, had a blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit.
The impact of the collision left Sarah unrecognizable. Her parents, Michelle and Scott, were only able to identify their daughter through her “Live, Laugh, Love” tattoo. Her organs were donated, and subsequently led to saving six people’s lives. I often wear a “Sarah Saved Six” bracelet to honor her memory.
Since that terrible January night, I have gotten to know Michelle and Scott Root and their only remaining child, Scott Jr. They are terrific people who, like so many other American families that are victims of illegal alien crime, have had to suffer a terrible, inconceivably painful loss. They are not just constituents to me. Over time they have become friends.
But they are also more than that. They are the embodiment of why I have spent 15 years in Congress championing the need for greater enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws. No American should have to wake up in the early morning hours, as Michelle and Scott Root did, to confront the loss of a loved one at the hands of an illegal alien. These crimes are 100% preventable. These crimes most assuredly are not “accidents,” and it is offensive for anyone to suggest they are. If Sarah Root’s killer had not been in the country illegally, or if he had been locked up behind bars until he could be deported, Sarah Root would be alive today.
Often, mine was a lonely voice. In 2006, ten long years before President Trump made the promise to “Build The Wall” the core of his successful presidential campaign, I was on the floor of the House of Representatives with blueprints for an ocean-to-ocean border wall and a scale model of my own. Over the past decade, I’ve taken numerous trips to our Southern Border to see for myself what is, and isn’t, being done to secure our country. I’ve worked with the Border Patrol, and I have great respect for them and for the men and women who serve as ICE agents. We need at least 10,000 more. I’ve passed numerous amendments designed to strengthen the nation’s ability to secure our borders and enforce our laws.
All of a sudden, though, my lonely voice calling for stricter immigration laws and tighter border controls is being joined by others in Congress who are singing from the same hymnal. President Trump deserves credit for driving this change. His focus on cracking down on illegal immigration has begun to win over growing number of Congressional converts to my career defining cause.
I welcome these new voices.
Because enforcing our laws and breathing life into the concept that we are a nation governed by the Rule of Law is what Americans want Congress to spend its time on. We don’t need to be distracted by fake news stories about the latest supposed outrage ginned up by cable news in their never-ending quest for ratings. Instead, we need to be taking action that will help ensure that Americans like Sarah Root aren’t needlessly cut down in their prime. Sarah deserves to be more than just some statistic in an unread FBI Crime Report. She was a living, breathing, exceptional person who could, and most likely would, have made significant contributions to her community and her country.
But, because we don’t vigorously enforce our immigration laws, Sarah wasn’t given the chance to do so.
This has to end.
We can no longer be a nation that, as happened during the failed presidency of Barack Obama, decides to abuse “prosecutorial discretion” to turn a blind eye to crimes committed by illegal aliens. We can no longer be a nation that allows one political party to prioritize supplementing its dwindling ranks through the importation of new voters over protecting the lives of Americans and safeguarding our nation.
Thankfully, the House of Representatives shares my long-held concerns and is beginning to act on them. The House passed three serious pieces of enforcement legislation this week, all of which bear my name. One bill will deny federal funds to sanctuary cities, a change I have been pushing for since 2005 when the House passed my amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Act denying funds to cities enacting sanctuary policies. This bill will also allow illegal aliens convicted of drunk driving to be held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The second bill, named “Kate’s Law” in honor of Kate Steinle, will provide judges with the ability to increase the length of prison sentences for illegal aliens who re-enter the country illegally.
And, finally, there is “Sarah’s Law.” This legislation, which I first introduced on July 7, 2016, requires ICE to take custody of illegal aliens charged in the United States with a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person.
If we had tougher immigration laws on the books, and we made enforcing them a priority, we would be discussing Sarah Root for her investigations of violations of the law, rather than discussing her as a potential provision in the law.
From this Root, Justice will grow. Congress should send my bills to President Trump for his signature.
Congressman Steve King, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, represents Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. King introduced H.R. 3003, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” which contains “Sarah’s Law” and H.R. 3004,“Kate’s Law.”