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Dan Gilmore / Oct. 22, 2015

Despite Efforts, No Changes to Sanctuary City Policies

Did Kate Steinle die in vain?

Pier 14 in San Francisco. Photo courtesy Ingrid Taylar, Flickr

Did Kate Steinle die in vain? On July 1, the 32-year-old Steinle was shot by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant with seven previous felony convictions and five deportations, as she was strolling arm-in-arm with her father on San Francisco’s Pier 14. Her death highlighted the fact that American cities deal with spikes of crime when they institute “sanctuary city” policies that allow illegal immigrants to walk the streets protected from law enforcement. (Steinle’s killer had been released from jail — but not deported — in March.) Democrats continue to resist much-needed reform. Most recently, the Senate tried to bring forward a measure named The Stop Sanctuary Cities Act, which would have stopped federal funds from flowing to any city that declared itself a sanctuary. Senate Democrats blocked the bill from advancing despite a 54-45 vote Oct. 20 (it needed 60 votes to move forward). Back in San Francisco, Steinle’s murder didn’t appear to faze the city’s leaders. In a unanimous vote, the city’s Board of Supervisors affirmed its sanctuary city policies. Even liberal Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) spoke out against San Francisco’s radical stance. “I believe these murders could have been prevented if there were open channels of communication between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities about dangerous individuals,” she said. In Feinstein’s comments there’s hope. While she voted against “Kate’s Law,” she — and hopefully other Democrats — is interested in some kind of sanctuary city reform.

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