Column | ‘Help Me, Dad’
Days after the cruel, unjust not guilty verdict in the Kate Steinle trial, Americans are still raging over the decision. Regardless of people’s opinions about immigration, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate’s acquittal on murder charges is a travesty, and adds to the already immeasurable pain the Steinle family and other families have suffered as a result of crimes committed by illegal aliens. Even the ultra-illegal immigrant advocate San Francisco Chronicle editorialized that the verdict did not serve justice.
After the decision, Steinle’s father Jim said he’s “shocked and saddened,” no doubt an understatement. Brother Brad said the “culmination of errors” that led to his sister’s death left him “just flabbergasted.”
By now the details surrounding Steinle’s murder are well known, but reviewing them to explain the nationwide rage is important. On July 1, 2015, Zarate, then known as Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, shot and killed Steinle in sanctuary city San Francisco, a crime to which he immediately confessed. Steinle had been strolling San Francisco’s Pier 14 with her father when she was shot.
Zarate is a Mexican national who had been removed from the U.S. five times, and had seven felony convictions. San Francisco authorities had Zarate in custody but ignored an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer and released him before he could be deported a sixth time. Six weeks later, Steinle was dead. Once Zarate received legal representation, his story changed, and his confession turned into a not guilty plea.
Steinle’s horrific and totally preventable death explains only part of the simmering anger among Americans on both sides of the aisle. The culmination of errors that Brad railed against remain in place, and are compounding. Immediately after the verdict was read, Mayor Ed Lee’s office said that San Francisco will always be a sanctuary city. And since that murderous July day, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that makes California a statewide sanctuary. At the signing, Brown dishonestly said that the bill “will protect public safety.”
Back in the Washington swamp, California’s elected Democrats are, no matter how high the body count becomes, contemptuous of federal immigration law. Two months after Steinle’s murder, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a former San Francisco mayor, refused to vote for a bill that would defund sanctuary cities. Senator Kamala Harris, former San Francisco district attorney, California attorney general, and a possible 2020 presidential candidate, is all in on sanctuaries. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, whose district includes San Francisco, repeatedly chants the deceptive and utterly false mantra that sanctuaries make cities safer. Earlier this year at a CNN Town Hall, Pelosi told Laura Wilkerson, whose 18-year-old son was tortured, murdered and then set on fire by a Honduran alien classmate, that illegal immigrants are “law-abiding citizens.” They are neither.
Plenty of blame can be placed on the Republican-controlled Senate too. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to bring to the floor for a full vote a House-passed bill that would defund sanctuary cities. Instead of committing to more security and protection from criminal aliens, Congress is obsessed with passing a DREAM Act amnesty. Little wonder that Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom want secure borders and vigorous internal enforcement, are disgusted.
To every local, state and federal official contemplating legislation that would expand immigration or grant amnesty, remember these words, the last Kate Steinle ever spoke, before you cast your vote: “Help me, Dad.”