In dramatic and emotional testimony on July 21, Jim Steinle, the father of slain 32 year old Kate Steinle, spoke in front of members of Congress and criticized the nation’s leaders for not following practical immigration laws that already exist.
Kate Steinle was walking with her father on a pier in San Francisco the evening of July 1 when she was allegedly shot by Francisco Sanchez, an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times previously due to drug related offenses and had seven felonies on his record, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Mr. Steinle called on lawmakers to enact legislation that is already on the books in order to prevent any more tragedies like this from occurring in the future.
“Legislation should be discussed, enacted or changed to take these undocumented immigrant felons off our streets for good,” he said.
After referencing his daughter’s numerous traveling excursions to Thailand, South Africa and Spain, Mr. Steinle began criticizing the Obama administration’s lack of enforcing already existing legislation with undocumented immigrants and border security.
“Everywhere Kate went throughout the world, she shined the light of a good citizen of the United States of America,” Mr. Steinle said in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Unfortunately, due to disjointed laws and basic incompetence at many levels, the U.S. has suffered a self-inflicted wound in the murder of our daughter by the hand of a person who should have never been on the streets of this country.”
According to The Hill, Sanchez was a “top deportation priority” of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) due to his vast criminal record. Despite being released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in March to the San Francisco Police Department to face charges for his crimes, the SFPD dropped all outstanding charges against Sanchez and released him, without the knowledge or approval of ICE.
San Francisco holds a title as a “sanctuary city,” which allows the police department and city officials to ignore federal immigration policies. Many major cities, such as New York City and Chicago, are also considered sanctuary cities and are able to violate national immigration laws if state and local officials agree to do so.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, also a former mayor of San Francisco, criticized the sheriff’s department in the city for not communicating with federal officials at all about their decision to release Sanchez, Fox News reported.
“A simple phone call would have been enough. But that did not happen,” she said.
Lawmakers are now introducing legislation to halt this kind of violence from happening in the future. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa released a bill that would hold federal funds for states with sanctuary cities until local law enforcement begins cooperating with federal officials. Grassley’s legislation would also punish those who illegally reenter the country after already being deported with a minimum five-year prison sentence if caught.