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Sanctuary Cities Under Siege After Murder on Pier

Michelle Cordova H.  |  Issue: August | September 2015
undocumented immigrants get into the hands of ICE

Due to the incident involving Juan Francisco López Sánchez many cities are thinking of collaborating with the law that makes it easier to undocumented immigrants get into the hands of ICE.


The murder of Kathryn Steinle on pier 14 San Francisco on June 1 allegedly at the hands of Juan Francisco López Sánchez, an undocumented Mexican immigrant deported 5 times, has ignited the debate over sanctuary cities, and the militarization of the Mexican border.

The discussion focuses on the release of Sánchez. He had a criminal record, after being tried for possession of drugs without informing the Immigration Service Department, better known as ICE, to proceed to deport him.

The case has polarized the nation, puts sanctuary cities under siege, and endangered thousands of previously protected undocumented immigrants, since many cities are thinking of collaborating with federal laws making it easier for undocumented immigrants to fall into the hands of ICE.

The police policy does not require San Francisco to obey the requirements of ICE, and they had not issued a warrant at the time of the release of the suspect. Besides the suspect had not been convicted by the prosecutor in his latest arrest for possession of drugs; neither did he have a history of violence.

Politicians have echoed the call to apply stricter laws against immigrants. The same San Francisco Mayor, Ed Lee, who supported sanctuary city policies now accuses the sheriff of being responsible for releasing the suspect and asked him to collaborate with ICE notifying the release of immigrants.

City Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, said that ICE did not issue a criminal warrant against the suspect so he was released. When Sánchez was booked into jail there was no active order of ICE or a deportation order. There was only a request for detention, ICE’s strategy to detain undocumented immigrants, which hundreds of municipalities refuse to support.

In full debate, the court of appeals ruled in favor of the undocumented, ruling that ICE needs to have a reasonable cause to issue a warrant to arrest immigrants and investigate their immigration status.

The parents of the victim testified in Congress requesting stricter laws against undocumented immigrants, calling for a bill that if a deported immigrant reenters the  U.S. he or she  be sentenced to five years in prison; and take funds away from  cities that do not cooperate with ICE.

The pre presidential candidate, Republican Trump used the incident to continue attacking Latinos and immigrants who he accused of criminality. His arguments are unfounded; a study at Massachusetts University shows that Latinos have a lower crime rate compared to local people, where 15% of the first generation of immigrants has committed a crime in the past 12 months vs. 25% among Americans.

Although citizens support immigration reform, 62% of Americans believe the federal government must take action against sanctuary communities.

Part of the debate should be gun control, stricter laws are needed; the suspect found a gun he allegedly fired.  The United States is the country with the highest percentage of armed citizens, there are an estimated 270 million guns in the U.S.,   89 guns per 100 people.

The case of the death of Steinle is unfortunate, but one incident should not fill the community with of indignation and a thirst for righteousness, and unbalance the relationship of trust and service, nor demonize an entire community.

Immigrants enrich the culture of this nation molding it with their dedication and effort. They bolster the power and prosperity of the United States with their contribution, forging history by sharing their values, perseverance, labor and dedication.

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