WASHINGTON (KRON/AP) — The deadly shooting of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 last week is triggering reaction from Capitol Hill and across the nation.
Senators are joining a chorus of critics blasting the release of the suspect, 45-year-old Francisco Sanchez, saying he should have been deported before the crime.
Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who chairs the Senate’s homeland security committee, says it makes no sense that the man was released despite having a long criminal record and no legal status.
Sanchez has seven felony convictions and has been deported five times, most recently in 2009, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
Philip Miller, an official with ICE, blamed San Francisco, saying officials there did not honor a federal request to keep Sanchez detained. The suspect, who is from Mexico, has been arrested for shooting and killing the Pleasanton native as she was sightseeing with her father.
San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has defended his office’s decision, saying ICE should have issued an arrest warrant earlier.
On Monday, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said the city’s sanctuary city policy “helps immigrant and limited-English speaking communities where sometimes people fear and mistrust the criminal justice system.” But he said the policy “should not create a safe harbor for convicted, violent felons.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a vocal proponent for immigration overhaul, has used the Sanchez case to bolster his push for immigration reform.