While many have referred to Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez — the man charged with murdering Kathryn Steinle — in varying formats as an illegal immigrant, repeat felon, multiple deportee, to Sayu Bhojwani he is a type of “American.”
In an editorial published at The Hill chastising Congress for passing legislation targeting sanctuary jurisdictions in the wake of Steinle’s murder, Bhojwani — the president and founder of The New American Leaders Project — labels Sanchez “an undocumented Mexican American.”
This difference in perception is one reason why H.R. 3009, the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act, which passed in Congress this week, is a dangerous policy. The bill, which proposes to withhold funding from local jurisdictions that protect the confidentiality of immigration status, is a short sighted and misguided reaction to the unfortunate murder of Kathryn Steinle, allegedly by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented Mexican American.
In her piece, which ran over the weekend, Bhojwani argues that sanctuary city policies allow for more trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, writing the that the new legislation will serve to create more fear of law enforcement.
Last week the House passed the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act, sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA). The bill would block certain federal law enforcement grants to cities that do not cooperate with federal law enforcement officials.
The legislation came to the floor in response to Steinle’s murder at a San Francisco pier, allegedly at the hands of Sanchez — a five-time deportee with a lengthy rap sheet. Sanchez had been released from the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department’s custody due to less than three months before he shot Steinle due to the city’s sanctuary policy of not honoring federal immigration detainers.