Columnist: San Francisco’s Sanctuary City Policies Did Not Lead to Kathryn Steinle’s Death

Pier 14 murder (Screenshot / Facebook / SFPD)
Screenshot / Facebook / SFPD

On September 15, Arizona Republic columnist Linda Valdez contended that attempts to connect San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies with the murder of Kathryn Steinle–which happened after illegal alien Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was given sanctuary–are part a “myth.”

Lopez-Sanchez was a multiple felon who was deported five timesfrom the U.S. He was allowed to remain in San Francisco after being released from jail in April despite an ICE request that he be retained. On July 1, Lopez-Sanchez shot and killed Steinle on San Francisco’s Pier 14 as she walked with her father.

According to Valdez, attempts to link sanctuary city policies to the murder are mythological in nature.

Valdez admits: “Mexican national Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who is charged in Steinle’s murder, was in federal prison for re-entering the country after his fifth deportation. Instead of being handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he was sent to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department on a decade-old marijuana possession charge.”

She points out that the “district-attorney declined to prosecute,” thereby releasing Lopez-Sanchez, and suggests that was not ultimately San Francisco’s fault, because “San Francisco’s sanctuary policy has exemptions that could have kept Lopez-Sanchez in custody if ICE had sought a court order to hold him, which the San Francisco authorities say ICE did not do.”

In other words, ICE asked San Francisco to retain Lopez-Sanchez–and although the city did not honor the request it is not the city’s fault and certainly not the fault of sanctuary city policies. According to Valdez, ICE should have tried harder.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at





Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.