SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco mayor Edwin M. Lee on Monday issued a statement on the tragic death of Kathryn Steinle and San Francisco’s Sanctuary City Policy.
According to police, Francisco Sanchez, 45, allegedly shot and killed Steinle last Wednesday in broad daylight on The Embarcadero in front of several witnesses in what investigators are calling a random act of violence. Sanchez admitted in a jailhouse interview that he shot her, but he says the shooting was an accident.
Last Friday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Sanchez was previously deported five times, most recently in 2009. Sanchez also had seven prior felony convictions for drugs, investigators said.
The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office said once they determined Sanchez had no warrants and had completed his federal time, he was released from jail. This despite the fact that ICE had asked they be notified when he was out of custody.
Sheriff’s officials did not do that because department policy and the city ordinance prevents that.
San Francisco policy on illegal immigrants states that a law enforcement official shall not detain an individual on the basis of a civil immigration detainer after that individual becomes eligible for release from custody.
In a TV interview, Sanchez appeared to confirm that he came to the city because of its status as a sanctuary.
READ: Ordinance as passed and signed by the mayorhttp://www.sfbos.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/bdsupvrs/ordinances13/o0204-13.pdf
The following is the statement released by the Mayor Lee’s office:
“I am deeply saddened by the tragic and senseless death of Kathryn Steinle. First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with Kathryn’s family and friends at this very difficult time. I have spoken with Kathryn’s family, and they would like everyone to remember their daughter for the wonderful person that she was.
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.
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.
Even after repeated attempts by President Obama and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to reform our immigration laws, Republicans in Congress have blocked those efforts, unfortunately, leaving cities and local municipalities to act upon immigration issues that affect its residents. I will continue to work with the Obama Administration on Comprehensive Immigration Reform to ensure cities aren’t forced to make and enforce immigration law.
Again, I express my deepest condolences to the Steinle family during this time of sorrow and grief. Justice will, in part, be served with the understanding of the facts behind Kathryn’s death.”