Infuriating to say the least.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has defended his office’s decision to release a Mexican man who was in the U.S. illegally and who is now suspected in the killing of a woman at a sightseeing pier.
Mirkarimi said that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency should earlier have issued an arrest warrant for Francisco Sanchez.
“ICE knew that he had been deported five times,” Mirkarimi said. “You would have thought he met a threshold that he required a court order or a warrant. They did not do that.”
Prosecutors on Monday charged Sanchez with murder in the death of Kathryn Steinle, who was shot and killed last Wednesday as she and her father took a walk on the popular Pier 14.
Steinle’s killing has brought criticism down on this liberal city because Sanchez had been deported repeatedly and was out on the streets after San Francisco officials disregarded a request from immigration authorities to keep him locked up.
San Francisco is one of dozens of cities and counties across the country that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The city goes so far as to promote itself as a “sanctuary” for people in the country illegally.
In a jailhouse interview with a TV station, Sanchez, a 45-year-old repeat drug offender, appeared to confirm that he came to the city because of its status as a sanctuary.
“Most of the blame should fall squarely on the shoulders of the San Francisco sheriff, because his department had custody of him and made the choice to let him go without notifying ICE,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which wants tougher immigration enforcement.