The fatal shooting of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle on July 1 at San Francisco's Pier 14 has drawn national attention and unleashed extensive debate over immigration. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez -- who has a long list of felonies and deportations -- has been charged with murder. He entered a not guilty plea Tuesday.
Here's what some politicians are saying about the case:
Ed Lee, mayor of San Francisco, written statement
There has been much discussion about San Francisco’s Sanctuary City Policy in the aftermath of Kathryn’s death. Let me be clear: San Francisco’s Sanctuary City Policy protects residents regardless of immigration status and is not intended to protect repeat, serious and violent felons.
Our City’s policy helps immigrant and limited-English-speaking communities where sometimes people fear and mistrust the criminal justice system. We want people to report crimes, we want children of undocumented immigrants to attend school, and we want families to get access to much needed social services without fear of their City government reporting them to Federal authorities. As the son of immigrant parents, I want others to know, San Francisco is a City where we protect the well-being and success of all families, regardless of immigration status.in an interv
As I said in 2013, we must protect both civil liberties and uphold public safety. Which is why, at the time, I promised to veto any legislation that completely eliminated the Sheriff’s ability to make a case-by-case determination about honoring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers. Our sanctuary policies should not create a safe harbor for convicted, violent felons.
I am concerned about the circumstances that led to the release of Mr. Sanchez. All agencies involved, Federal and local, need to conduct quick, thorough and objective reviews of their own departmental policies and the decisions they made in this case.
Ross Mirkarimi, sheriff of San Francisco, speaking with KQED's Scott Shafer
We are law enforcement. We adhere to the law. And as to the law that was passed by the Board of Supervisors in 2013 and signed by Mayor Lee, to the letter of the law, we have been unfailing.
Now the situation with Mr. Sanchez really spotlights ... in my opinion, the ineptitude of ICE. ... This suspect, the defendant, was brought to us on a 20-year-old warrant for a marijuana possession charge. The city doesn't even really prosecute on marijuana. And that could have been avoided, I think, if ICE would have been serious about deporting him for what would have been ... the sixth time. Somebody like Mr. Sanchez, who has been deported and illegally reentered a number of times, met the criteria for their first tier and [ICE] could have just acted, side-stepping San Francisco. ...
I agree that we should not be harboring criminals ... but the truth of the matter, the truth of the matter, is that a local law that has been enacted, signed by the mayor, affirmed by federal court decision is that a detainer is not a legal document. And ICE has been made well aware of this, and that what we require is a court order or a warrant. ... ICE exists on Sansome Street, downtown San Francisco. They knew he was here well over two weeks beyond his release date. They just didn't follow through.
Dianne Feinstein, California senator, written statement
I have been looking into the circumstances related to the tragic killing of Kathryn Steinle. The suspect has been convicted of 10 crimes, including four drug felonies, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement had filed what is known as a detainer asking the San Francisco Sheriff's Department to hold Mr. Sanchez for deportation. The Sheriff’s Department failed to respond to that detainer and did not notify ICE when the individual was released.
I strongly believe that an undocumented individual, convicted of multiple felonies and with a detainer request from ICE, should not have been released. We should focus on deporting convicted criminals, not setting them loose on our streets. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I am looking at whether additional federal legislation may be necessary.
I have written a letter to Mayor Lee suggesting he participate in DHS’s Priority Enforcement Program, as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to do in a recently adopted resolution. This program will enable federal law enforcement to better cooperate with state and local counterparts to take custody of individuals who pose a danger to public safety before they are released.
Barbara Boxer, California senator, written statement
For decades, I have supported deporting violent criminals, and I have always believed that sanctuary should not be given to felons.
I have reached out to Governor Brown to ask whether state law was followed in this case, and if so, whether the law needs to be strengthened to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again.
Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential hopeful, in an interview with CNN
The city made a mistake, not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported. I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on. ... If it were a first-time traffic citation, if it were something minor, a misdemeanor, that's entirely different. This man had already been deported five times. And he should have been deported at the request of the federal government.