When an American is killed by a foreign national, it is not more tragic or painful for the family members and society than it is when a person is killed by a citizen. However, from a public policy standpoint, it is more outrageous because the death is usually avoidable, and in the case of an illegal alien or legal immigrant with prior convictions, it is 100% avoidable. We can’t pick our natural-born citizens, but we can pick our immigrants and we can and must remove those who are harmful at the first sign of trouble.
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was arrested on Monday by Massachusetts police at his home in West Springfield for the negligent homicide of seven motorcyclists in Randolph, New Hampshire, last Friday night. Seven bikers were killed, and three others injured when his pickup truck and attached trailer plowed into the motorcycles traveling in the opposite direction on Route 2.
According to local media, he has two prior DUI arrests, including one conviction in 2013, which led to his license being suspended for 210 days because he was tagged as “an immediate threat.” The other DUI arrest was just last month in Connecticut. He was also arrested in Baytown, Texas, on Feb. 11, 2019, on possession of a crack pipe.
According to WMUR, Zhukovskyy was charged for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and speeding in April 2012, but charges were dismissed. He also pleaded guilty to two drug charges in January 2017 for possession of cocaine and heroin, but just paid a fine.
In addition to the driving and drug charges, according to the Boston Globe, Zhukovskyy received a 90-day suspended jail sentence in Connecticut in 2015 for larceny after he admitted to stealing ladders and windows at a Home Deport warehouse.
Video of the arraignment is available here:
Zhukovskyy is not an illegal alien, but is a citizen of Ukraine who resides here on a green card and has been living here with his family for 13 years. However, a green card does not entitle anyone to an affirmative right to remain in this country. It’s a probationary period for them to demonstrate “good moral character” (INA 316(e)). While there are, unfortunately, many Americans who have DUI and drug charges, it should go without saying that immigrants – legal or otherwise – should not be allowed to remain here without good moral character.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has confirmed with CR that “a detainer has been placed to take Mr. Zhukovskyy into custody at the conclusion of local criminal proceedings.”
Obviously, when it comes to illegal aliens, it makes sense that any illegal arrested for any crime should be deported since they must be deported even if they did not commit any crimes. While we might not want a threshold of deporting legal immigrants for any misdemeanor, there is no reason someone with multiple misdemeanors that includes dangerous driving offenses should be allowed to remain in the country. What is clear is that ICE should have access to all records of foreign nationals and they should be aware of multiple criminal offenses, especially in this case, when there were numerous cross-state arrests that would each individually be viewed as low level within the respective states, but taken together, pain the picture of someone who should be deported.
It’s clear from the fact that ICE is only now requesting information on the 2017 drug conviction that it had no idea of his status at the time.
The 2015 larceny conviction should have made him deportable right away and ICE should have been notified. Theft is included in a crime of moral turpitude making legal immigrants deportable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A). Then again, in 2017, Zhukovskyy should have been deportable because drug possession (except for certain marijuana offenses) make an alien deportable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(B).
The fact that someone like this could have continued to rack up driving offenses for this long without his past history ever being conveyed to the right authorities demonstrates how the weakness in enforcing current law leads to so many avoidable murders. All deaths at the hands of foreign nationals whom we could have deported are, by definition, avoidable. This is one of the most redressible problems from a public policy standpoint because no foreign criminals should ever cycle in and out of the criminal justice system for years without being removed.
What’s worse is that sanctuary states like Massachusetts work to hide criminal records from ICE to ensure that they can’t weed out the criminal elements among the many good immigrants in this country. Jessica Vaughan of Center for Immigration Studies, who lived in Massachusetts for many years, told CR that Massachusetts laws are “inadequate to protect the public.”
“It is evident that the commonwealth of Massachusetts is failing to manage the issuance of regular and commercial driver’s licenses to prevent unqualified, unsafe drivers from obtaining these credentials, and yet at the same time, the Legislature wants to add to the problem by allowing illegal aliens to receive driver’s licenses. This will make the problem worse because the Registry of Motor Vehicles will have no way to authenticate their identity, meaning that they will have no clue about their past driving history or suitability for a license. Clearly, the state needs to be more restrictive in screening for licenses, not less.”
Then there is the issue of undermining federal immigration officers. According to Vaughan, the bill before the state Senate “would not only discourage sharing of information between local and federal authorities about non-citizens who are a danger to the public, but it would protect them from contact with ICE and even mandate their release while charges are pending, even if ICE is seeking to deport them.”
So rather than preventing situations like this, the bill would also “require the release of an illegal alien who is charged with an atrocity like this – guaranteeing that they remain free in the country and likely free from consequences for their actions.”
Current law could have worked to save the lives of these seven individuals based on the larceny and drug charges. But Congress should go a step further and make two DUIs grounds for deporting legal immigrants. We see so often that manslaughter or homicide is born out of refusal to enforce current law, especially when deportable offenses were suggestive of the ultimate offenses that proved fatal.
In this case, Zhukovskyy should have been deported anyway, but Congress needs to ensure that repeat DUI offenders are deported and that DUI arrests of aliens are sent to ICE.
At Tuesday’s arraignment where Zhukovskyy was charged with seven negligent homicides, Judge Peter H. Bornstein said his “criminal and driving history exhibit a pattern of operating a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner. If released, he will likely present a danger to the safety of defendant or the public.”
The big question is why was this history enough to allow him to remain in the country for the past four years? Moreover, the suspect’s father told the Boston Herald that his son “recently” obtained a green card. If that is in fact true, then it would mean that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjusted his status, even though he had such a robust criminal record.
At the end of the day, Edward Corr, 58, of Lakeville, Mass., Jo-Ann Corr, 58, of Lakeville, Mass., Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, N.H., Albert Mazza, 59, of Lee, N.H., Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, N.H., Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, N.H., and Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, R.I., are all dead thanks to the systemic breakdown of enforcing current immigration laws.
Yet, somehow the deaths of Americans due to the lack of immigration enforcement is never as sexy as the death of illegal aliens at the hands of cartels being blamed on our border agents. Sadly, these avoidable murders happen every day and go unreported in the media.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.