Municipal IDs and Murder (Learn More, Multi-Video)

Written by Douglas A. Solomon

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the infamous schoolyard killings in Newark, N.J.

On Aug. 4, 2007, three Newark students – Terrance Aeriel, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey —  were shot, execution-style, behind Mount Vernon School (a fourth victim was shot but survived) by six gang members (one of them here illegally) who robbed them.

The surviving victim – Aeriel’s sister Natasha — was also slashed and sexually assaulted.

(Natasha Aeriel is the lone survivor of the triple shootings at Mount Vernon School in 2007. Her brother, Terrance Aeriel, was killed. So were her best friends, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey. She graduated from Delaware State University and the ceremony took place just days before the conviction Monday of Rodolfo Godinez, the first of six defendants charged with the triple slaying and robbery. Courtesy of FoxNY via GreatPitchMedia and YouTube. Posted on May 30, 2010)

On Aug. 1, 2015, (almost eight years to the day of the murders) Newark, following the lead of that paragon of progressivism, New York City, began issuing municipal IDs for, among others, illegal immigrants. (As of September 2016 the city issued 9,600 ID cards, according to

Passed by a unanimous vote in the city council, Mayor Ras Baraka (son of the late ‘60s radical Amiri Baraka, who lost his poet laureate award due to suggesting the Jews were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks) touted the program as “extending democracy to hundreds of residents” and would show that ”our door is open in the great city of Newark.”

(A citywide municipal ID program will begin Aug. 1 in Newark. Supporters say the program will help those without proper identification gain access to services like health care, utilities and bank accounts. Courtesy of NJTV News and YouTube. Posted on Jun 1, 2015)

The director of Health and Community Wellness said the IDs will “allow all residents a place to call home.”

One councilman declared the new IDs would show the holder was a “citizen of Newark” (as if cities are authorized to bestow citizenship).

One of those “citizens” to whom the door was open was Jose Carranza, an illegal immigrant from Peru who took part in the killings.

At 28 the oldest of the gang, he was convicted of murder, robbery and aggravated assault (for the slashing and rape of Natasha).

(Jose Larchire Carranza, who surrendered to authorities Thursday, pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in Essex County Court to three counts of murder, attempted murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and weapons offenses. Slideshow from courtroom. Photos by Patti Sapone and Robert Sciarrino. Video courtesy of nj .com and YouTube. Posted on Aug 10, 2007)

He had previously been sentenced to eight years for a bar brawl and was out on bail when he took part in the crime.

Newark is famous for demonstrations and marches for “justice” for people like Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling and Michael Brown.

Yet in this case there were no marches or demonstrations for stricter enforcement of immigration laws.

Now in all fairness justice was never in doubt. All six gang members were arrested and convicted.

Carranza was sentenced to almost a century and a half in prison; his maximum release date is May 5, 2142 (another gang member is set to be released Nov. 18, 2215).

But one might think there would be a backlash against illegal immigration and Newark’s sanctuary policy; Newark, like New York, San Francisco and many other cities across the country, is a “sanctuary city” which refuses to cooperate with ICE (interesting how those who protested Arizona’s SB 1070 as an infringement on the federal government’s prerogative in immigration law say nothing when cities infringe on the federal government’s prerogative by making their own immigration law).

Iofemi Hightower, 20, Dashon Harvey, 20, and Terrance Aeriel, 18.

But if Carranza had been deported instead of sheltered by the sanctuary city policy, the three murdered students might well be alive and the surviving victim spared the scars – both physical and emotional – of slashing and rape.

It defies comprehension that now we have the same city where these horrific murders took place proudly issuing municipal IDs to possibly the next Jose Carranza.

The reliably–liberal Star Ledger hailed the move as “a program that will help unauthorized (I guess that replaces undocumented) immigrants and others live their lives” and a “stop-gap measure to help cities integrate and promote civic engagement in their immigrant communities.”

But what cities need to do is cooperate with federal immigration authorities in upholding the immigration laws of the United States, instead of promoting “civic engagement” by assisting those who’ve broken those laws by coming (or staying) illegally to “live their lives.”

(Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan promises tougher crackdown in Sanctuary Cities. Courtesy of CBS SF Bay Area and YouTube. Posted on Jul 27, 2017)

By refusing to cooperate with ICE, Newark and all sanctuary cities are gambling with their residents’ safety and playing politics with people’s lives.

And the silence on this issue from these communities bespeaks hypocrisy; these are the same communities which quickly mobilize to protest when someone is killed by a police officer, yet say nothing when an illegal immigrant does the killing.

It is long past time for cities to work with federal authorities in identifying those here illegally and reporting them when they commit crimes instead of giving them municipal IDs (as well as taxpayer-funded benefits).

Congress needs to deny federal funds to any city that refuses to cooperate with ICE (finally, the current Republican Congress mustered up enough courage earlier this year to pass such a measure, dubbed “Kate’s Law”).

(“Kate’s Law.” The bill, named after a woman who was killed by an illegal immigrant, seeks to toughen punishments on people who reenter the U.S. illegally. Courtesy of The Washington Post and YouTube)

And the residents of these cities need to demand that government at all levels enforce immigration laws to protect them from those who would do them harm.

(Douglas A. Solomon is a free-lance writer living in northern New Jersey. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science)