Kate Steinle, 32, was walking with her father along the Embarcadero in San Francisco in the early evening July 1 when she was shot – apparently at random -- by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 45, an illegal alien from Mexico who’d committed 7 previous felonies in the U.S.
Mr. Lopez-Sanchez had been deported five times. It would have been six, but for the fact San Francisco is a “sanctuary city.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had Mr. Lopez Sanchez in custody after his release from federal prison in March, but turned him over to sheriff’s deputies for San Francisco county, where a drug warrant had been issued for him.
ICE asked to be notified if San Francisco released Mr. Lopez-Sanchez, so he could be deported. But San Francisco does not honor such requests from federal immigration authorities.
In Laredo, Texas, the day after Kate Steinle was murdered, Juan Francisco de Luna Vasquez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, beat his wife to death with a hammer.
Mr. de Luna Vazquez had been deported four times. It would have been five if Laredo police had informed the Border Patrol of earlier violent episodes with his wife.
In 2013, ICE released back into local communities 36,007 illegal aliens who among them had nearly 88,000 criminal convictions – including 193 homicides, 426 sexual assaults, 303 kidnappings, and 1,075 aggravated assaults.
All were being processed for deportation, but were freed while awaiting final disposition of their cases. Most of the releases were discretionary (not required by law.) After their release, at least 1,000 committed additional crimes.
The 36,000 were in addition to 68,000 other illegal aliens with criminal convictions encountered by ICE in 2013, but released without being processed for deportation.
Last year ICE released 30,558 criminal aliens who, collectively, had almost 80,000 convictions, including 250 homicides, 386 kidnappings, 373 sexual assaults, 994 aggravated assaults.
Illegal immigrants comprise about 3 percent of the population in the U.S., 30 percent the federal prison population, 38 percent of those convicted of federal crimes in FY 2013. More than 40 percent of federal criminal cases filed by U.S. attorneys last year were in five districts along the Mexican border.
These statistics go unmentioned by Democrats and journalists who’ve assailed Donald Trump for remarks he made about illegal immigrants when he announced his candidacy for president June 16.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
This was a crude statement from someone notorious for making crude remarks. The vast majority of illegal immigrants have broken no other U.S. laws. Most work long hours for low wages at scut jobs to provide a better life for their families.
Illegals are far more likely to be victims of violent crime. As many as 80 percent of illegal immigrant women are raped during their perilous journey here. In every major population group, only a relative handful of people commit violent crimes. The proportion of violent felons among illegal immigrants probably is about the same as for the native born.
But violent felons among the illegal immigrants commit lots of crimes -- crimes that would not have been committed if they hadn’t gotten into the country in the first place, been deported promptly, or kept in custody until they could be deported.
Mr. Trump deserves criticism for how he said it, but the thrust of what he said is indisputably true. Criticism of his infelicitous remark is hypocritical coming from those who’ve asserted or implied Republicans who seek stronger border security measures are “racist.”
I don’t like Donald Trump. I wish he’d said what he said in a more accurate, less provocative way. But it isn’t he who deserves condemnation. It’s the politicians whose policies have made them accessories before the fact in the murder of Kate Steinle, and so many others.