The Progressive Policies That Murdered Kate Steinle
By Matthew Vadum
Left-wingers in San Francisco should be hanging their heads in shame after their borderline seditious, destructive immigration policies allowed an illegal alien felon to murder a young woman randomly in broad daylight.
Nor did gun control laws prevent Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a 45-year-old illegal alien deported five times to Mexico, from allegedly firing one bullet into the upper body of medical device sales representative Kate Steinle on busy Pier 14 last Wednesday, a popular tourist destination. Steinle was cut down in front of her father and mother and died later in hospital.
No motive has been established for the shooting but Lopez-Sanchez is a five-time felon. An hour after the shooting, he was picked up by police roughly a mile away.
Although this violent thug pulled the trigger, progressives, through the laws they have enacted, put this man on the streets which allowed him to murder.
Federal authorities had Lopez-Sanchez in custody in March after he was set free from a federal prison. They transferred him to San Francisco authorities because he was wanted by them on drug-related charges. The feds filed what's called an "immigration detainer" requesting that the local authorities notify them before releasing the man.
But San Francisco, home of the most militant leftists in America, refused the request because local policy forbids it. The prisoner in effect got a "get out of jail free card" from the left-wing open-borders movement which argues that keeping illegals in jail violates their constitutional rights.
This is how it works. Being wanted for violating immigration laws isn't enough, in the eyes of progressives, so after they have served their local time illegals go straight from their holding cells to the streets where they are free to murder, rape, and rob the citizens of this country. Complain about this policy and risk being smeared as a racist.
San Francisco isn't the only so-called sanctuary city where liberal-progressive compassion triumphs over federal immigration law and common sense.
The list of sanctuary cities is long and growing longer. A list compiled by an activist shows there are at least 30 in California alone including Oakland, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
Other major sanctuary cities across the country are Albuquerque, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Washington D.C.
All these cities serve as magnets for illegals, drawing them from far and wide. They know that in these cities they have to really make an effort to get in trouble for immigration law violations.
But many cities have gone farther than merely refusing to use their police forces to help federal immigration enforcement efforts.
San Francisco is just one of many cities that now refuse to honor the formal federal requests called immigration detainers that are issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (How much effort the Obama administration actually puts into enforcing its own detainers is a separate question altogether.)
Detainers are valid for up to two days (excluding weekends and holidays) and exhort jailers to keep in custody illegal immigrants who are otherwise scheduled for release, so ICE can claim them and process them for deportation. If ICE does not take custody after 48 hours, the local law enforcement agency is required to release the individual.
Local jailers "used to think of immigration detainers as mandatory, but several key court decisions have made clear to local law enforcement that the detainers are mere requests by ICE." Local governments have been under pressure from left-wing open-borders groups such as National Council of La Raza and National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) to do everything in their power to not take illegals into custody.
A growing number of local jurisdictions, including President Obama's home turf of Cook County, Illinois, have enacted ordinances preventing their law enforcement officials from honoring detainers. The consequences of treating detainers as mere suggestions have been deadly as vicious criminals who might otherwise face deportation are dumped back into communities to commit more crimes.
A left-wing think tank founded by John Podesta, now chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, even produced model legislation to assist jurisdictions in frustrating federal immigration detainers.
The George Soros-funded Center for American Progress drafted the “TRUST Act” (Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools) to help its activist allies undermine immigration enforcement.
Marshall Fitz, director of immigration policy at CAP, whines that individuals who are unlawfully present in the country and are arrested for minor legal violations get “swept up into the deportation pipeline because of the program.”
Fitz would prefer if every governmental body simply stopped enforcing immigration laws in toto. “Instead of trying to enlist states in a self-defeating and inhumane effort to expel millions of people from this country, Congress needs to own up to its obligation to reform the broken system and abandon its knee-jerk reliance on enforcement panacea.”
Leftist pressure groups pushed California lawmakers hard to force the state's jailers to set illegal aliens who lacked serious criminal records free more quickly so federal officials would not be able to detain them for deportation hearings.
In October 2013 California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed California's iteration of the TRUST Act into law. The state statute "creates a statewide standard for how local agencies comply with the federal Secure Communities program, which requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of anyone who is arrested."
Translation: The state law raised the threshold for an immigration arrest so high that hardly any illegals can be arrested in California for immigration law violations.
Not surprisingly, far fewer illegals arrested by California police are being turned over to federal authorities since the TRUST Act came into force.
A survey of 15 county sheriff's departments in the state early last year showed a 44 percent drop, from 2,984 illegals to 1,660.
Kevin Johnson, dean of the University of California, Davis school of law and an expert on immigration law blamed the TRUST Act for the precipitous decline.
“It suggests that before the TRUST Act went into effect, at least in California, Secure Communities was having a most significant impact on relatively minor criminal offenders, as opposed to the gang bangers the president was saying were being targeted,” he said.
Kate Steinle, who in her final moments futilely begged her parents to help her, is merely a "bump in the road" as President Obama might put it.
Steinle is dead because of the damage the Left has done in its crusade to dismantle what remains of U.S. immigration law.
Whatever discourages illegals from entering the country is bad, and whatever encourages them to hop the fence is good in the eyes of the progressives who are destroying America.
Sanctuary cities and the growing movement to frustrate federal immigration enforcement will get more innocent U.S. citizens like Kate Steinle killed.