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Fatal San Francisco Shooting Results in Immigration Debate

Posted by Seth Chazin | Jul 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

After the murder of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco on July 1st, House Republicans are infuriated about the release of an illegal immigrant from prison who is charged with the murder. In response, Republicans have advanced legislation that discriminates against immigrants.

Steinle was walking with her dad on Pier 14 on the Embarcadero when she was fatally shot in the chest. The alleged shooter, 45-year-old Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, admitted to killing Steinle in an interview with reporters. He said that he had found the gun wrapped in a T-shirt on the ground.

The Mexican national has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.  It has been found that the murder weapon belonged to a federal agent, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Lopez-Sanchez had a history of criminal convictions including seven prior felony convictions, as well as being an undocumented immigrant who has been deported from the U.S. five times.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blamed Steinle's death on weak border security and Hilary Clinton called out the city for releasing the suspect from jail. San Francisco has a “sanctuary” policy in place that limits assistance to federal immigration authorities. He had been handed over to San Francisco authorities on an old drug charge, which they ended up dismissing and releasing him despite a request from federal officials to keep him detained.

San Francisco is among 300 communities nationwide that refuse to abide by federal immigration detention requests, which have been successfully challenged in court by critics who say they indiscriminately target immigrants including many innocent of criminal wrongdoing.

“Dangerous criminals who are in the Unites States illegally must now be incarcerated until they are deported to their home country," Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas.

Now innocent undocumented people may face the consequences of one man's act. What the media does not portray is that not all undocumented immigrants are criminals. Many are here just to provide a better life for their families and escape from war or horrible conditions in their homeland. The Sanctuary Law  was made to prevent undocumented immigrants from having their families torn apart and deported for minor incidents. Not all undocumented people should have to face having their families being separated due to a single misdeed.

Learn more about being charged with murder here

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson