- - Thursday, January 12, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

If Tomas Martinez-Maldonado isn’t the poster child for Kate’s Law, he should be. He’s enmeshed in the toils of the law now to answer the charge that he brutally raped a 13-year-old girl on a Greyhound bus in Kansas last September.

That should not have happened, and it wouldn’t have, if Kate’s Law had been on the books, and Kate’s Law would have been on the books if Democrats in the U.S. Senate had not blocked the attempt.

Martinez-Maldonado had been thrown out of the United States 19 times since 2003. In 10 instances, he was formally deported, and on the nine other occasions he was “voluntarily” removed. However, the legal term “voluntary return [home]” is misleading. The nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies explains that when an alien requests to be sent home in lieu of removal proceedings, it’s not really “voluntary,” but beneficial to the alien because he incurs fewer consequences if he returns again illegally.

Kate’s Law, which would impose a mandatory-minimum five-year prison sentence on aliens who re-enter to the United States after being deported, was quashed last summer by a filibuster by Democrats, who argued that it would lead to prison overcrowding. Kate’s Law has been introduced again in the 115th Congress by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Steve King of Iowa, both Republicans.

Kate’s Law was named for Kate Steinle, 32, of San Francisco, who was killed in 2015 on a stroll with her father on the San Francisco waterfront by a stray bullet fired from gun stolen by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal alien who had been deported five times.

A modest semblance of justice may be on the way. U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero ruled Jan. 5 that Miss Steinle’s family’s lawsuit against the U.S. government, for contributing to her death by failing to enforce immigration laws, can proceed. “Parents should never experience the heartbreak of burying their child,” Mr. King said on reintroducing Kate’s Law, “but the Obama administration’s commitment to lawless immigration policy has made that tragedy the new normal.”

San Francisco is one of scores of towns and cities that have declared themselves “sanctuary cities” to harbor illegal aliens, and President-elect Donald Trump often cited the Steinle killing during the presidential campaign in his promise to withhold federal money from sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate in enforcing immigration law. Punishing sanctuary cities by withholding money won’t bring back Miss Steinle, but it’s the right thing to do because it will prevent other such tragedies.

Maria Espinoza, the national director of the Houston-based Remembrance Project, whose mission is “honoring and remembering Americans killed by illegal aliens,” says the mayors of sanctuary cities have “blood on their hands.” So do the Senate Democrats who filibustered Kate’s Law, and they must be held accountable.


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