Liberal local officials in San Francisco refused to comply with federal law and turn a convicted felon over, Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday, and he finds that "unacceptable."
"The Department of Homeland Security repeatedly requested the city to turn him over," the Florida Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" program. "They refused to do so. What is more unacceptable, this person had been deported, and each time found his way back into the country, to San Francisco because he knew it was a city and jurisdiction that would not turn him over to federal authorities."
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Rubio said the story would be tragic, no matter who committed the murder, as Kate Steinle, the young woman who was shot and killed as she walked on a city pier with her father, was "by all accounts a phenomenal person."
But the situation shows how the system is "completely out of control," said Rubio, who is seeking the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
He said there have been negotiations with Democrats in the past over getting rid of such sanctuary city situations, in which immigrants cannot be turned over to federal authorities unless a warrant is presented, and telling localities that they would not be eligible for federal funding if they don't enforce deportation laws.
The situation has happened because localities decided that their political opinions of immigration law mean they can ignore enforcement measures, said Rubio.
"We have a sovereign country, and we have the right to enforce our immigration laws, irrespective of how you feel about immigration at large," Rubio said. "Everyone should acknowledge we as a country have the right to have immigration laws and the right to enforce them. In this case, you have political, elected officials in ultra-liberal government who refuses to comply with the law because they don't agree with the law. "
Fox host Bill O'Reilly was also on Thursday's show to discuss the issue, saying that he has designed a "Kate's Law" that would mandate the federal government to take detainment decisions out of state and local hands and to incarcerate any person who comes back into the United States after being deported for five years.
"You have politicians to blame each other when they all know they are at fault," O'Reilly said of San Francisco's response to Steinle's murder. "They being the mayor and the city supervisors of San Francisco who for years have defied federal law and allowed criminal aliens to roam free. That's their policy. And now that it's cost the life of this young woman, they are too cowardly to take responsibility, and say, we were wrong."
"Kate's Law" and another, denying federal funding to sanctuary cities like San Francisco, are going to be introduced and O'Reilly believes they will pass. He promised he will spotlight any opponents on his show.
"We are hoping Congress finally does the right thing," he said. "This has been going on for 30 years."
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