“Help me, Dad."
Those were the last words Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old medical sales representative, uttered to her father just before dying in San Francisco's Embarcadero neighborhood.
Steinle had been shot in the back by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican National who had just finished his third federal prison term after committing felony re-entry into the United States. Though he claimed the shot was not meant for Steinle, the bullet punctured her heart and proved fatal.
The senseless murder added fuel to an ongoing national debate over immigration. A provision called “Kate's Law” was even brought up in Congress, which Bill O'Reilly described on his TV show:
“As we suggested last night, Congress should pass legislation that would impose a mandatory-minimum five-year sentence on any illegal alien that is deported and then comes back.”
But according to Fox News, the Senate was unable to advance legislation that would amend federal immigration law, which includes “Kate's Law.”
The proposed measures also planned to cut funding to “sanctuary cities” in a piece of legislation called the “Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act.” The final vote on the Senate floor was 53-44.
Sanctuary cities are designated U.S. cities that follow certain procedures that shelter illegal immigrants. Proponents claim they're actually “safer” than other cities, and cite San Francisco's decline in crime as evidence.
The legislation was hotly contested by Senate Democrats. Senator Harry Reid claims the “bills follow Trump’s lead in demonizing, criminalizing immigrant, Latino families.” Molly Gill, a government-affairs counsel at FAMM, has said if the bill passed it would “suck up every dime you saved from criminal-justice reform and negate it.”
However, Senator Ted Cruz, who sponsored “Kate's Law,” had strong words for his colleagues:
“Sanctuary cities and the criminal aliens they harbor are a threat to the safety of the American people.”
“Yet, San Francisco and jurisdictions around the country still shelter illegal aliens, actively thwarting enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.”
And Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania posed an emotional plea to the Senate floor before the vote:
“How many times does this have to happen?”
Kate Steinle's parents have received an outpouring of support after their unfathomable loss. Her father Jim has said, “Without all the love from around the world for Kate, this would’ve been a tougher road to hoe.”