House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said today that San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy had nothing to do with the murder of Kate Steinle.
Steinle’s father, Jim, has been in D.C. this week testifying in favor of sanctuary city reforms. The man arrested in his daughter’s death, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, had been deported five times and had an outstanding felony warrant for marijuana possession but was released by authorities in March. He has admitted to the July 1 San Francisco pier shooting of 32-year-old Steinle.
In a jailhouse interview after the shooting, the suspect said he came to San Francisco because he knew it was a sanctuary city. He claimed he found the gun and accidentally hit Steinle while shooting at sea lions.
“The fact that San Francisco is a sanctuary city — and there are many sanctuary cities throughout — many people live in sanctuary cities across the country — that really has nothing to do with what happened in San Francisco,” Pelosi told reporters today.
“The — should we take a look, always review what the standard is for — for example, in this case, having nothing to do with sanctuary cities, but why did the Bureau of Prisoners not hand this — Bureau of Prisons not hand this person over to ICE, as they had done in the past? A course of events unraveled in which — which were unfortunate, and poor judgment was used by the sheriff and the city to not turn him over to ICE — the person, the suspect — over to ICE.”
Pelosi said officials should be looking at “how we should increase communication.”
“Should there be a way to increase communication among different authorities? Yes. Should there be a review of what constitutes a deportable offense? In other words, it says now violent felons. Well, there are lots of misdemeanors that are very violent that just really wouldn’t fall under that category and there are lots of felonies that aren’t violent but that are breaking the law in a serious way,” she said.
She adding they should be reviewing “not for the purpose of sanctuary city, but just for the purpose of our policy in general, what is serious.”
“What would solve most of it, not guarantee of all of it, is to pass comprehensive immigration reform. What we also have to look at is how did this person come into possession of a gun in a state where his having a gun as a convicted felon would raise serious questions.”
Pelosi called it “a tragic, tragic situation.”
“Our hearts are broken over it. So much heartbreak, so sad what happened in Chattanooga. It’s just — how do you explain that? Again, a person got a gun online, got a gun online. Another reason for us to have a serious background check,” she said.