Tags: Liz Sullivan | Kathryn Steinle | sanctuary | cities | law | illegals | violence

Kate Steinle's Mother: Sanctuary Cities' Law Has 'Gotten Totally Crazy'

Kate Steinle's Mother: Sanctuary Cities' Law Has 'Gotten Totally Crazy'
Alamo Square San Francisco California. (Michael Flippo/Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 21 July 2015 09:23 PM

The mother of a San Francisco woman shot to death by an illegal immigrant who has been deported five times said Tuesday that she supported legislation to crack down on local laws protecting migrants because "we want our loss to be the last loss from a violent criminal immigrant."

"We're here to try to get legislation passed so that Kate will be the last person," Liz Sullivan, the mother of Kathryn Steinle, told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News. "If the laws were put in place like they should be, he wouldn't have been here."

Steinle, 32, was gunned down on July 1 while walking with her father, Jim, at a popular tourist attraction on the San Francisco waterfront.

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 52, an illegal immigrant with seven felony convictions who had been deported to Mexico five times, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Steinle's death.

He was released from federal prison in March after a felony conviction for re-entering the United States illegally. Lopez-Sanchez transferred to the custody of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department on a drug arrest warrant and federal officials had asked to be notified before his release.

But the sheriff's department said since the charges were dismissed and no warrant or judicial order was active for Sanchez's removal, the city's policy deemed him "ineligible for extended detention" and he was freed.

Steinle's death highlighted a longstanding "sanctuary city" policy in San Francisco, one of several hundred U.S. municipalities that limit assistance to federal immigration authorities.

"We have got a lot of illegal people here," Sullivan told Van Susteren. "A lot of them are good, law-abiding citizens, in loving families in loving relationships. They are paying money into Social Security, they are paying taxes and they are living here.

"That's not what this is about. That's not what sanctuary cities was about in the beginning. It was a totally different thing — and it's gotten totally crazy."

Sanctuary city policies originally sought to shield Central and South American refugees from deportation in the 1980s, and court rulings have since cast doubt on whether detention requests from immigration officials without a formal court order are a legal basis for extended detention.

At a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier Tuesday, Chairman Chuck Grassley excoriated the policies, saying they have released thousands of criminals back into communities.

He introduced legislation Tuesday requiring state and local authorities to cooperate with federal authorities on criminal undocumented immigrants, under the threat of withheld federal funding.

Those re-entering the U.S. after deportation would risk at least five years in prison.

"Enforcing the immigration laws in this country is not a voluntary or trivial matter," said Grassley, an Iowa Republican. "Real lives are at stake. Things cannot continue this way."

He said his bill was also "aimed at individuals who ignore our laws time and again."

Similar legislation to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities was introduced by Judiciary Committee Republican Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Steinle's father also testified
at the first part of the hearing.

"Suddenly a shot rang out," Jim Steinle told the committee. "Kate fell. And looked at me and said, 'Help me, dad.'

"Those are the last words I will ever hear from my daughter.

"Unfortunately, due to disjointed laws and basic incompetence on basic and many levels," he later added, "the U.S. has suffered a self-inflicted wound in the murder of our daughter by the hand of a person that should have never been on the streets of this country."

During the second part of the hearing, committee Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Jeff Sessions of Alabama bitterly attacked Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldaña for the Obama administration's lax enforcement of deportation laws.

In a tense exchange, Cruz, who is seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, pressed Saldaña on how many illegal criminals ICE released in 2013.

She said about 30,000 — but Cruz charged that it was actually 104,000, since the Obama administration refused to bring deportation hearings against 68,000 criminals, as required by federal law.

ICE also released 36,000 illegals with criminal records who were in deportation hearings that year, the senator said.

"There is a reason that the American people are upset," Cruz told Saldaña. "If President Obama had the courage of his convictions, he would come and look into the eyes of the men and women who've lost their sons, their daughters, their mothers, their sisters, their brothers — and the administration would stop releasing murders and rapists.

"It is within your power to follow federal law, and this administration refuses to do so — and it is unacceptable," he said.

Cruz last week introduced legislation that would require a mandatory five-year federal prison term on those who return to the United States illegally after being deported.

Sessions said that "if this administration spent one-tenth of the effort on enforcement in protecting people from crimes and punishing people who are criminals, who violate our immigration laws, rather than on amnesty, we’d be a lot safer today.

"Many of the people who have been injured, robbed, or killed by illegal immigrants would be alive today.

"What the American people know and what the family of victims of violent crime know is that this administration has consistently and steadfastly placed the goal of amnesty above the goal of public safety time and time again," Sessions said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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The mother of a San Francisco woman shot to death by an illegal immigrant who has been deported five times said Tuesday that she supported legislation to crack down on local laws protecting migrants because "we want our loss to be the last loss from a violent criminal immigrant."
Liz Sullivan, Kathryn Steinle, sanctuary, cities, law, illegals, violence
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 09:23 PM
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