Steinle’s Dad, Victims’ Kin to Speak at Immigration Hearing

Posted July 20, 2015 at 2:04pm

Jim Steinle, the father of a woman fatally shot three weeks ago in San Francisco, will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday during a hearing on immigration enforcement policies.

The slaying of Kathryn Steinle on July 1 has sparked heated debate over so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not fully cooperate with immigration laws and focused a spotlight on requests from Immigration Customs and Enforcement known as “detainers.” 

Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, a Mexican immigrant who has been charged with Steinle’s death, was deported five times and had seven felony convictions at the time of his arrest. Although ICE had asked San Francisco law enforcement to notify them before releasing Sanchez, local officials did not. San Francisco is one of 276 cities that have adopted sanctuary policies. 

Sarah Saldana, director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and Leon Rodriguez, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, will face questions from Republicans who are eager to strip federal funding from cities that do not fully comply with immigration detainers and existing laws. 

Senators also will hear from other people who lost family members in crimes involving persons who entered the United States illegally. They include Susan Oliver, whose husband was fatally shot in October 2014; Brian McCann, whose brother was hit by a drunk driver in June 2011; Laura Wilkerson, whose son was beaten to death by a classmate in 2010; and Michael Ronnebeck, whose nephew was shot while working as a convenience store clerk in January.

Several of the suspects arrested in these cases had been deported multiple times.

“The heartbreaking death of a Kathryn Steinle at the hands of a criminal alien in the country illegally underscores the critical need for swift and decisive action to prevent further tragedies of this nature,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley wrote to Attorney General Loretta Lynch earlier this month. “San Francisco’s sanctuary and non-cooperative policies have directly shielded violent offenders from deportation, raising questions as to how many more criminal aliens are being protected and allowed to remain on the streets today.”