The July 1 shooting death of Kate Steinle was a shocking crime in several ways. The 32-year-old woman was suddenly hit as she strolled with her parents on a San Francisco pier near the Ferry Building in an area popular with both tourists and locals. Fortunately, passers-by snapped pictures of the shooter which helped police arrest the man a short time later. He turned out to be a Mexican national, Francisco Sanchez, whose U.S. record included seven felony convictions, four of which involved drugs, and five deportations.
San Francisco and its liberal immigration policies share much of the blame for the crime. In a jailhouse interview a few days later, Sanchez said that he chose that city because of its sanctuary policy, which protects illegal aliens from deportation. Plus, he should have been deported a sixth time, but the San Francisco jail where he had been sent by Immigration and Customs Enforcement released him onto city streets instead of returning him to ICE for repatriation.
Consider the federal-state relationship here (and San Francisco’s sanctuary policy is based upon California’s). When Arizona wanted to do its own border enforcement a few years ago because Washington wouldn’t, the feds insisted the state back off because immigration was a federal job. But when the federal agency ICE handed Sanchez over to San Francisco police for an earlier drug crime, ICE requested notification of when the city was done with him so he could be deported, but SF’s policy of non-compliance with ICE detainers swung into gear and the criminal was released. The feds complained mildly, but that was it. In short, the system is flexible either way to advantage foreign lawbreakers rather than to protect Americans’ public safety.
Sadly, the Steinle killing was not the first instance of preventable death caused by a dangerous illegal alien in San Francisco. In 2008, city resident Tony Bologna and his two sons were murdered as they drove home from a family picnic by Edwin Ramos, an MS-13 gangster, who mistook them for rivals. There was great public anger at that time that the city’s sanctuary policy had protected Ramos from deportation even after his arrests for assaulting a bus passenger and an attempted robbery of a pregnant woman. Even liberal San Franciscans believe their government should protect them from dangerous foreigners.
Instead, in 2013 the city doubled down on its sanctuary policy by passing legislation prohibiting law enforcement from co-operating with most federal immigration detainer requests. San Francisco didn’t learn a thing from the Bologna family triple murder, as shown by the preventable Steinle death.