US troop drawdown in South Korea worth considering
Webb: Protecting Americans at home and abroad
America is still faced with tough decisions as we pass the 17 year mark since Sept. 11, 2001. While security is often highlighted at this time, it is not just about terrorism and confronting global Islamic jihad in any and every form.
Here is a fundamental question. Do our citizens matter over our personal political views? As Americans we want to feel secure at home and abroad and in or out of uniform.
First, at home. The passage of the Community Safety and Security Act by a vote of 247-152 in the House is a positive step. The Supreme Court ruled in April that there is not enough clarity in federal law when it comes to charging illegal aliens with an aggravated felony. This includes those accused of very serious crimes like kidnapping, sexual assault of an adult or a child and burglaries.
Often there is a public debate over prioritizing illegal alien criminals but legal definitions must be clear. The left and the open borders advocates like the American Civil Liberties Union oppose this along with congressional Democrats like Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) and accuse Republicans of using this to increase deportations. In fact, the opposite is true. Clarity in law allows for the courts and juries to make clear decisions on charges that are brought. The left would like to mix the roles of law-enforcement and our judicial system as one, but that is not the case. Once law-enforcement has done its job, it is up to the court system on how criminals should be prosecuted and cases adjudicated.
The confusion that has existed has allowed for large numbers of appeals across multiple jurisdictions. The real opposition by congressional Democrats is that now we can properly target and punish criminals, which includes mandatory removal. The Senate must follow through and here is where the rubber will meet the road for Senate Republicans. After all, they now have the Supreme Court on their side.
On the international front, protecting our service members is the right thing to do. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in July 2002 under a multilateral treaty known as the Rome Statute. Initially the United States signed the statute in 2000 but the Senate failed to ratify it. Former President George W. Bush authorized his under secretary of State to withdraw from it.
The administration's view was that it was illegitimate. The concerns were that unaccountable powers given to the ICC and its prosecutors posed a threat to our sovereignty and the constitutional protections of our citizens in or out of uniform.
Despite the globalist outcry, the United States was not alone and more than 70 nations and more than 70 percent of the world's armed forces are not party to this agreement. The Trump administration has made it clear that we will not surrender the rights of the United States as a non-party to an agreement. This is much different than the approach of the Obama administration that was more willing to surrender the protections of our citizens.
One of the most serious decisions a president must make is when to send our troops into harm's way. Our men and women in uniform must be secure in the knowledge that their rights as American citizens will not be surrendered to a foreign kangaroo court. Where there are crimes that should be investigated, there is already a process to do that and a long history of international cooperation.
The Trump administration has made three very clear points. First, that it will negotiate more binding bilateral agreements to prohibit nations from surrendering United States persons to the ICC.
Second, to the extent permitted by existing law, the United States will ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, sanction their funds in our financial system and prosecute them in the United States criminal system.
Third, the United States will consider steps in the United Nations Security Council to constrain the courts sweeping powers and ensure that the ICC does not exercise jurisdiction over Americans and the nationals of our allies that have not ratified the Rome Statute.
More clarity is needed when it comes to U.S. citizens who operate as military contractors and intelligence operatives. In time the administration needs to be more definitive so that the protections of all citizens, regardless of the cloth they wear, is uniform.
It is laughable and dangerous to have many Democrats oppose this move by the Trump administration. All Americans should consider that if abroad and accused, who would best work to protect their rights.
Webb is host of "The David Webb Show" on SiriusXM Patriot 125, a Fox News contributor and a frequent television commentator. His column appears twice a month in The Hill.