House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) and Zoe Lofgren responded to the murder of Kathryn Steinle this week with a letter to administration officials calling for improved communication and a review of the policies that lead to the release of Steinle’s alleged killer.
“Whenever an innocent person is lost to violence, as a society we should consider what steps we can take to make our communities safer. Moving forward, we believe San Francisco and the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice should improve communication to ensure all interests are weighed in future cases,” the two California lawmakers wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Earlier this month Steinle was murdered at a San Francisco pier, allegedly by a multiple deportee, illegal immigrant with a long criminal history who had been released from the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department custody due to the city’s sanctuary policy of not compiling with immigration detainers.
The alleged murder, Francisco Sanchez, had been transferred from the Bureau of Prisons to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department following his last prison term on a warrant for a 20-year-old drug offense — which the city did not end up prosecuting.
“We write now to ask that the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice undertake a joint review of the policies and practices pertaining to the release of BOP prisoners against whom ICE has lodged a detainer request,” Pelosi and Lofgren added in their Wednesday letter.
The letter came in advance of the House’s approval of a Republican bill to penalize sanctuary cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration efforts by restricting those jurisdictions’ federal law enforcement grants.
The bill passed largely along party lines, with both Pelosi and Lofgren voting no. The White House has threatened to veto the bill.
Pelosi defended San Francisco’s sanctuary policies last week, saying “I support the sanctuary.”