Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) highlighted the illegal immigrant suspect in the murder of Kathryn Steinle as a prime example of lack of border security during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing Tuesday.
Gowdy sparred with the lone witness at the hearing, DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson over the release of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez — who later allegedly shot and killed Steinle — by the sanctuary city of San Francisco, pointing out that the multiple-felon, multiple-deportee illegal immigrant reveals a lack of control over the border.
“[Lopez-Sanchez criminal record] dates back to 1991 the criminal conduct occurred in five separate states,” Gowdy said. “He’s committed local, state, and federal crimes. He was and is by any definition a career criminal. He violated at least three separate statutes when he simply picked up the gun before he shot and killed an innocent woman walking with her father. So to me, Mr. Secretary, he is Exhibit A that we must not have functional control over the border or he wouldn’t have reentered so many times.”
“And he is I am assuming not able to pass anyone’s background check — I would hope that somebody with his criminal history couldn’t even pass our friend in the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform background check,” he added.
The South Carolina lawmaker continued, reading a quote from Johnson, “I want people who are living in this country undocumented to come forward, to get on the books and subject themselves to a background check so I can know who they are and whether it’s the current DACA program or a path to citizenship — whether it’s deferred action or earned path to citizenship — from a Homeland Security perspective I want people to come forward.”
Gowdy asked Johnson if Lopez-Sanchez would have come forward.
“When we talk about encouraging people to coming forward, what were talking about are people who were are hoping will report crime who will participate in American society fully. Obviously somebody like this is not coming forward,” Johnson responded.
Gowdy continued, pressing Johnson on the administration’s unwillingness to mandate compliance with detainers, arguing it is “ironic” that the administration refuses to mandate deatiners while at the same time denying local law enforcement the ability to enforce immigration law.
Johnson argued that courts have ruled in some instances that detainers violate due process and called for cooperative efforts with local law enforcement.
The DHS secretary added that to him, Lopez-Sanchez is “is exhibit A for why jurisdictions need to work with our Priority Enforcement Program.”