Watch this entire speech by Del. Jackson Miller (R-Manassas) and decide for yourself. Is he exploiting a horrible tragedy – a triple slaying in Manassas by a Salvadoran national and undocumented immigrant to this country – to push his political agenda (he wants to crack down on “illegal criminal aliens”, as he calls them, in various ways that others agree or disagree with) or not? Also keep in mind that whenever Democrats have raised political issues in the aftermath of tragedies – gun restrictions, for instance, after the Virginia Tech or Arizona shootings – they have been utterly lambasted by the right wing. Also keep in mind what the Benedictine Sisters had to say, in aftermath of a horrible drunk driving accident by an illegal immigrant that took the life of one Sister and severely injured two others.
The Benedictine Sisters are dismayed and saddened that this tragedy has been politicized and become an apparent forum for the illegal immigration agenda. While grieving and dealing with the death and severe injuries of our sisters, we would like to re-focus attention on the consequences of drinking and driving and on Christ’s command to forgive.
We are confident that Sister Denise is in the arms of our loving God and hopeful that the two injured sisters will be restored to health. We are also confident that responses of mercy and forgiveness, though usually not easy, are not optional for Christians and are required in order to preserve and promote the dignity of life at all stages.
Uh, well, isn’t “politicizing” a tragedy exactly what Jackson Miller is doing here? Isn’t he using the tragedy as a “forum for the illegal immigration agenda?” In fact, Miller all but admits it when he says, “I’m gonna be accused of using a tragedy for politics…that I’m fanning the flames on the immigration debate.” Following which Miller escalates his language even further, lashing out at “the 20 of you who voted against this bill” and admonishing the House of Delegates to “not let the blood of another Virginian, immigrant or natural born citizen, stain this body’s hands again!!!” Subtle, huh? Just like when he says “less safe my ass!” on the House floor. Classy.
Again, this was a horrible crime, and I understand that Jackson Miller is upset. Rightfully so; we all would be upset – and many of us angry – if something horrible like this happened a mile from our homes, in our communities. But the fact is, this crime would have been just as horrible if it had been committed by a 10th generation American, by someone here on a green card or studying at one of our colleges and universities, or by an undocumented immigrant. Jackson Miller claims, “this debate is not about immigrants,” yet he spends 9 minutes referring over and over to immigration policy – state, federal, whatever – while listing the names of people who have been victimized by “illegal alien criminals.” Again, how is that not politicizing a horrible tragedy — actually a number of horrible tragedies — on an extremely contentious, divisive, political issue over which reasonable people can, and do, disagree? And where are the Republicans willing to call out Miller for doing this? You know they’d be calling Democrats out if they exploited a shooting to call for stricter gun control; but now, silence or even cheers for Miller. Fascinating, huh?