Sometimes a single event cuts through the rhetorical fog to illustrate with stunning clarity the consequences of wrongheaded and simpleminded public policy, putting to shame the academics, the pundits, television’s talking heads and the politicians who follow their lead in promoting such policy.
Kathy Steinle, a young San Francisco woman of 32, finished dinner with her father on a soft summer night last week and took a stroll with him on the Embarcadero. She stopped to snap a photograph of the colorful waterfront and had the tragic misfortune of coming across a seven-time loser named Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who has been convicted of seven felonies across four states. He came to the United States illegally from Mexico and had stopped on the Embarcadero to “shoot a few sea lions.” He shot Miss Steinle in the back instead. Her father rushed to her aid as she lay dying, crying out to him: “Dad, help me. Help me, Dad.”
Lopez-Sanchez was wanted by federal immigration authorities, who had deported him five times and asked to be notified when he was ready for release. The federal authorities wanted to send him back to Mexico once more. Maybe the sixth time would be the charm.
But San Francisco, which regards itself as a “sanctuary city” above the law that governs the rest of us, refused. It will not cooperate with federal authorities on immigration matters. A man who shouldn’t have been in the United States in the first place was allowed to prowl the streets of San Francisco, looking for someone to kill.
The killer told a reporter in a jailhouse interview that he had moved to San Francisco when he last got out of prison precisely because he knew it was a sanctuary city. The politicians, from San Francisco to Washington, who enabled San Francisco to thumb its nose at U.S. immigration law made Miss Steinle’s appointment with death on the Embacadero all but inevitable.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee suggests that the blame lies not with his city’s fantastical goofiness, but with Republicans in Congress who have blocked President Obama’s immigration reforms.
In the weekend that Kathy Steinle lay dying in San Francisco, Texas authorities arrested a Mexican illegal who had been sent home four times, but returned to beat his wife to death with a hammer. In Arizona, the police arrested a man who had been deported five times and charged him as the hit-and-run driver who severely injured two small children. These are the tragedies that cut through fog and hot air of the debate over the failure of the government to control immigration in an orderly way.
Incidents like these are inevitable when the government refuses to govern, and when the pleas of the masses for safety are answered only with more corrupt politics. President Obama makes up his immigration “reform” as he goes along, as if he needs no help from Republicans — or Democrats — in Congress. Mr. Obama could have real reform, if he wanted it. He confronts rather than leads. He prefers immigration by the swarm rather than the orderly stream that served the nation well in earlier generations. We can be proud that we are, indeed, a nation of immigrants, but there is no pride in becoming a nation of the uncontrolled swarm. A young woman in a phony “sanctuary city” paid with her life to remind us of that.