Woman Shot at San Francisco Pier Fuels Immigration Debate

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Kathryn Steinle’s death in San Francisco caused by an immigrant that has been deported numerous times, and has several felony convictions, has fueled the immigration debate on tightening immigration control.

The woman was gunned down on July 1 by Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, a Mexico native, while walking with her father down a San Francisco city pier. When Sanchez was arrested it was revealed that he had seven felony convictions related to drugs and repeated illegal entries into the country. It was confirmed that Sanchez was previously release by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office back in April despite a request from immigration asking that they hold him until U.S. authorities could take Sanchez into custody for deportation proceedings.

Immigration advocates across the country say that Sanchez is a rare exception to the millions of people who are in the U.S. illegally but live lawful lives.

After being interviewed by a reporter in jail, Sanchez mentioned that he found the gun under a bench and that it fired accidentally. The gun was reported stolen from a car belonging to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger according to police.

At a court hearing this week, the man seemed to know very little English and his attorney, public defender Matt Gonzalez, said Sanchez had a second grade education.

Sanchez was found in front of a restaurant in the area about an hour after Steinle was shot. He was already on probation in Texas at the time of the shooting.

Groups advocating stricter immigration enforcement are hoping the episode leads to closer collaboration between local law enforcement and immigration authorities. The Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for tighter policies and enforcement, posted a lengthy commentary Monday on Steinle’s death that was titled, “Another Life Needlessly Lost to Poor Immigration Policies.” It added a map of sanctuary cities to its website.