Shooting returns CA to center of immigration fight

ImmigrationA slaying in San Francisco has sparked a national furor over its status as a so-called “sanctuary city” for unlawfully present immigrants. In an area popular with tourists, a five-time deportee named Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez shot Kathryn Steinle as she walked the waterfront with her father.

In addition to his five deportations, Lopez-Sanchez had racked up seven felony convictions since 1991, according to the Washington Post. “San Francisco authorities released him from custody in April after drug charges against him were dropped, despite an urgent request from the Department of Homeland Security that he be deported a sixth time to his native Mexico,” the Post reported.

Laying blame squarely at the feet of the city, federal officials have helped return California to the center of the immigration debate roiling the U.S. amidst the early stages of a presidential election season.

Municipal crisis

Caught flat-footed, city officials have scrambled to respond to the ballooning criticism. Donald Trump, who has made immigration enforcement a divisive wedge issue defining his maverick run for the presidency, recently seized upon the shooting as evidence justifying his proposed crackdown. City officials emphasized that their actions were in accordance with municipal law, as the Los Angeles Times noted:

“San Francisco’s ordinance made Sanchez ineligible for a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold because he did not have ‘a violent felony conviction within the last seven years, or a probable cause for holding issued by a magistrate or judge on a current violent felony,’ said Freya Horne, an attorney for the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. ‘Nothing in his background showed anything like that.'”

Lopez-Sanchez fell under the purview of a 2013 law adopted by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. “Since then,” added the Times, “dozens of cities and counties across the country have stopped complying with immigration “detainer” requests after a federal judge ruled that an Oregon county violated one woman’s 4th Amendment rights by holding her for immigration authorities without probable cause.”

Lopez-Sanchez has now been charged by city prosecutors in connection with Steinle’s killing, according to Fox News.

Election-year politics

Surprisingly, Lopez-Sanchez himself has weighed in on the immigration debate. Interviewed in jail by KGO-TV, he revealed that “he chose to return repeatedly to San Francisco […] solely because he felt protected from deportation,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Horserace watchers, the Chronicle noted, have speculated that the controversy could become a “Willie Horton moment” in the 2016 election cycle — a reference to then-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush’s opportunity to score points against rival Michael Dukakis, who had supported a weekend furlough program as governor of Massachusetts that allowed a convict to committed a string of violent felonies.

But this time around, the field of contenders for the GOP nomination has split on immigration, with some candidates implying support for Trump’s stance and others remaining opposed.

Across California, some Republicans have quickly voiced their disgust with Democrats’ lenient attitude on immigration. “There has also been harsh criticism at the state level from conservatives such as Tea Party favorite and former GOP assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly, who is now a talk show host,” the Chronicle continued. “He called on state Democrats to take direct responsibility for immigration policies that he charged are ‘putting the public’s safety at risk.'”

Democrats, meanwhile, have not responded in kind. State Attorney General Kamala Harris, who rose from San Francisco district attorney to her party’s favorite to replace outgoing U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, ventured that “our policy should not be informed by our collective outrage about one man’s conduct,” as ABC News reported. “Many other San Francisco politicians stayed quiet as mourners held a late morning vigil at Pier 14 on the downtown waterfront[.]”

10 comments

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  1. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 8 July, 2015, 12:10

    I’m confused. Didn’t the Liar-In-Chief Barry Obummer tell the nation that we can’t have a patchwork of immigration laws? Isn’t that why DOJ sued Arizona over SB1070?

    I guess we can have a patchwork of sanctuary cities across the country unmolested by Barry’s corrupt DOJ so long as the result is open borders, reduced deportations and a flood of illegal aliens.

    Here is another aspect of this current furor that confounds me – the left wing trolls are always telling us that supporters of nullification are neo-confederate, knuckle dragging, inbred racists. They say that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution is inviolable. Yet the sanctuary city policy is a classic example of nullification of federal law. As is state marijuana legalization. So I guess Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, The District of Criminals, etc. are chock full of inbred, confederate flag loving, mouth breathing, secessionist slave owners then? Nathan Bedford Forrest would be thrilled I’m sure.

    Trying to make any sense of Amerika’s insane political culture is entirely futile at this point. All you can do is grab some popcorn, settle in to the threadbare sofa in the backyard bunker and watch the show.

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 10 July, 2015, 21:29

      Thousands of Americans have been killed because of California’s sanctuary city regulations, most from drunk drivers, but many from stabbings and shootings.
      Dys knows the truth!! 🙂

      Reply this comment
  2. Lawrence Person
    Lawrence Person 9 July, 2015, 07:01

    Don’t use the phrase “unlawfully present immigrants” when the traditional “illegal aliens” is shorter and more accurate.

    One of the keys to fighting back is preventing liberals from controlling the language…

    Reply this comment
  3. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 9 July, 2015, 07:29

    Clearly Lopez-Sanchez cannot be held responsible for this killing. 1) He FOUND a loaded gun that belonged to a FEDERAL AGENT (!) 2) Out of childish curiosity he picked it up and aimed it at some SEA LIONS (!)
    3) At this point the gun began FIRING ITSELF WITHOUT LOPEZ TOUCHING THE TRIGGER (!)
    4) The girl got in the way of this hard-working, family-loving undocumented citizen and foolishly caused her own death (!)
    It is PURE RACISM to hold Lopez responsible in any way for this tragic incident. As an undocumented citizen his every word is absolute truth and he must be released immediately!

    Reply this comment
    • Dyspeptic
      Dyspeptic 9 July, 2015, 08:40

      Clearly you are an enlightened and perceptive individual. And also a racist for not addressing him as SENOR Lopez-Sanchez. However, so long as you self deport back to Europe you will be forgiven, gringo.

      Reply this comment
  4. desmond
    desmond 10 July, 2015, 18:00

    Anyone is fair game to bring common sense to immigration reform, anyone. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

    Reply this comment
  5. desmond
    desmond 13 July, 2015, 17:42

    Solution to a sour Ahaul.
    .Nanochip within the sour ahaul’s meds activated by Android device that makes the ahaul body think the liver is a heart, and for fun, the anal sphincter the brain. Take two and call the mortuary.

    Reply this comment
  6. Teddy
    Teddy 13 July, 2015, 23:16

    LOL Repubs control both houses and still can’t let a vote occur on an immigration bill— the only repub with the balls to talk about it is Trump!

    LMAO—- let me catch my breath! He’s the wrecking ball that is dooming the GOP to another loss as they alienate the voting block they need! Oh my— thanks tea baggers! LMAO

    Reply this comment

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