California bill calls for restrictions on releasing illegal immigrants
August 28, 2015
As a response to the killing of Cal Poly grad Kathryn Steinle, Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill restricting transfers of illegal immigrants from federal to local custody. [LA Times]
SB 57, authored by senators Bob Huff and Shannon Runner, would require local law enforcement to have an outstanding felony warrant for a person scheduled for deportation before seeking custody from federal immigration officials. The agency would also be required to confirm that prosecutors would pursue a felony charge.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who has been deported to Mexico five times, allegedly shot Steinle in the back while she was walking with her father along Pier 14 in San Francisco on July 1. Prior to the shooting, Lopez-Sanchez was transferred from federal to local custody on a warrant in a marijuana case that was more than 20 years old.
Prosecutors decided to drop the case, and Lopez-Sanchez was released from jail in March.
“He would have been deported back and not sent to San Francisco if this bill had been in place, which would have saved Kate’s life,” Runner said at a press conference Thursday.
SB57 was approved Wednesday by the Senate Rules Committee. The bill would need to pass both houses of the legislature with a two-thirds vote because it contains a clause that would make the law take effect immediately.
Sen. Cathleen Galgiana, a Democrat from Stockton, has joined as a co-author to the bill.
This week, Lopez-Sanchez appeared in court for preliminary hearings in the murder case. A San Francisco judge continued the hearings and has yet to rule whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a murder trial.