Protecting Our Families
Republicans remain the party of vigorous action against crime and the party that empowers the law-abiding by protecting their right to keep and bear arms for self-protection. Our national experience over the past twenty years has shown that vigilance, tough yet fair prosecutors, meaningful sentences, protection of victims’ rights, and limits on judicial discretion protect the innocent by keeping criminals off the streets.
The Internet must be made safe for children. That’s why Republicans have led efforts to increase the funding necessary to track down and jail online predators through the Adam Walsh Act. We commit to do whatever it takes, using all the tools of innovative technology, to thwart those who would prey upon our children. We call on service providers to exercise due care to ensure that the Internet cannot become a safe haven for criminals.
Child pornography is a hideous form of child abuse. Those who produce it – and those who traffic in it – must be punished to the maximum extent of the law. Because it is an international problem, the Executive branch must carry the fight overseas to where the molesters perpetrate their evil. Congress should expand the range of companies required to report the existence of child pornography, and we congratulate the social networking sites that agree to bar known sex offenders from participation.
Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support the law prohibiting gambling over the Internet.
Gang violence is a growing problem, not only in urban areas but in many suburbs and rural communities. It has escalated with the rise of gangs composed largely of illegal aliens, most of whose victims are law-abiding members of immigrant communities. We call for stronger enforcement and determined prosecution of gang conspiracies. Illegal alien gang members must be removed from the United States immediately upon arrest or after the completion of any sentence imposed. Aliens convicted of crimes that render them removable from the United States must be removed as soon as possible after the completion of their sentences through the immediate transfer of their custody to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Criminals behind bars cannot harm the general public. To that end:
Public authorities at all levels must cooperate to regain control of the nation’s correctional institutions. It is unacceptable that prison officers should live in fear of the inmates they guard. Similarly, persons jailed for whatever cause should be protected against cruel or degrading treatment by other inmates. We cannot allow correctional facilities to become ethnic or racial battlegrounds.
Breaking the cycle of crime begins with the children of those who are incarcerated. Deprived of a parent through no fault of their own, these youngsters should be a special concern of our schools, social services, and religious institutions. Government at all levels should work with faith-based institutions that have proven track records in diverting young and first offenders from criminal careers through Second Chance and similar programs. Individuals, including juveniles, who are repeat offenders or who commit serious crimes need to be prosecuted and punished.
In solidarity with those who protect us, we call for mandatory prison time for all assaults involving bodily injury to law enforcement officers. Reviews of death sentences imposed for murdering a police officer should be expedited, and a retrial of the penalty phase of the killer’s trial should be allowed in the absence of a unanimous verdict. We support the right of off-duty and retired officers to carry firearms. Criminals should be barred from seeking monetary damages for injuries they incur while committing a crime.
In recent years, many federal resources for law enforcement have been shifted to the fight against terror. To compensate for that loss of manpower – and with the significant increase in cybercrime, identity theft, and human trafficking – several thousand new FBI agents, U.S. marshals, immigration officers, and Border Patrol agents are needed.
The human toll of drug addiction and abuse hits all segments of American society. It is an international problem as well, with most of the narcotics in this country coming from beyond our borders. We will continue the fight against producers, traffickers, and distributors of illegal substances through the collaboration of state, federal, and local law enforcement. We support the work of those who help individuals struggling with addiction, and we support strengthening drug education and prevention programs to avoid addiction. We endorse state and local initiatives, such as Drug Courts, that are trying new approaches to curbing drug abuse and diverting first-time offenders to rehabilitation.
Twenty-six years ago, President Reagan’s Task Force on Victims of Crime, calling the neglect of crime victims a “national disgrace,” proposed a constitutional amendment to secure their formal rights. Today, that disgrace persists in courtrooms across the nation. Innocent victims – battered women, abused children, the loved ones of the murdered – still may not be told when their case is being heard. They can be excluded from the courtroom even when the defendant and his friends may be present. They have no right to a speedy trial, and a judge or parole board has no obligation to consider their personal safety in making release decisions. In short, the innocent have far fewer rights than the accused. We call on Congress to correct this imbalance by sending to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of crime victims. In addition, crime victims should be assured of access to legal and social services, and the Crime Victims Fund established under President Reagan should be used solely for that purpose.
Because our Constitution is based on the principles of individual liberty and limited government, we must always ensure that law enforcement respects the civil and constitutional rights of the people. While we wage war on terrorism in foreign lands, it is sometimes necessary for intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials to pursue terrorist threats at home. However, no expansion of governmental powers should occur at the expense of our constitutional liberties.
The two most effective forces in reducing crime and other social ills are strong families and caring communities. Both reinforce constructive conduct and ethical standards by setting examples and providing safe havens from dangerous and destructive behaviors. Given the weight of social science evidence concerning the crucial role played by the traditional family in setting a child’s future course, we urge a thoughtful review of governmental policies and programs to ensure that they do not undermine that institution.
Decentralized decision-making in the place of official controls empowers individuals and groups to tackle social problems in partnership with government. Bureaucracy is no longer a credible approach to helping those in need. This is especially true in light of alternatives such as faith-based organizations, which tend to have a greater degree of success than others in dealing with problems such as substance abuse and domestic violence. To accomplish their missions, those groups must be able to rely upon people who share their faith; their hiring must not be subjected to government regulation and mandates.