A preventable tragedy – that’s the only way to describe the shooting death of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in San Francisco last week. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family as they grieve their unfathomable loss. Her alleged killer, Francisco Sanchez, is an unlawful immigrant who had previously been deported from the United States five times. Although Sanchez was detained earlier this year by San Francisco police on drug charges, he was released by San Francisco officials because the city is a sanctuary jurisdiction.
Sanctuary cities, such as San Francisco and many other cities, needlessly endanger American lives by refusing to honor the federal government’s authority to enforce immigration laws. This murder is a tragic and sober reminder that illegal immigration is not just about national sovereignty and national security, but also public safety. The failure of the Obama Administration to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, coupled with the policies of cities like San Francisco, threatens the safety of our communities.
These reckless policies that lead to the failure to enforce our immigration laws must come to an end. Earlier this week, I joined ABC’s “This Week” and “The Kelly File” on Fox News to discuss our nation’s immigration policy. I hope you will take a minute to watch.
Victims of illegal immigrant crime have testified before the House Judiciary Committee on numerous occasions. It is frustrating because these crimes are preventable. For this reason, earlier this year the House Judiciary Committee approved an interior immigration enforcement bill authored by Congressman Trey Gowdy. Among the bill’s provisions, it would withhold specific grants from sanctuary cities that defy federal immigration enforcement efforts. It would also end the President’s ability to shut down immigration enforcement efforts unilaterally and would protect the American public by facilitating and expediting the removal of criminal aliens.
We are a nation of immigrants and our immigration system has contributed to the greatness of the United States. People from around the world have immigrated to America and have blessed our country with talent, diversity, and a commitment to freedom. However, we are also a nation of laws. The Administration cannot disregard the rule of law. Our immigration laws must be enforced.
Bob Goodlatte represents Virginia’s Sixth District in Congress.