Kate’s Law has been introduced in Congress, giving lawmakers another run at legislation to impose a mandatory minimum five-year prison term on foreigners who re-enter the U.S. after being deported.
The legislation is named for Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old who was fatally shot by a felon in San Francisco who had been deported but returned to the U.S., authorities said. The House passed the bill last year, but it died in a filibuster by Senate Democrats. The bill was introduced last week in the House by Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, and in the Senate by Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican.
“Parents should never experience the heartbreak of burying their child, but the Obama administration’s commitment to lawless immigration policy has made that tragedy the new normal,” Mr. King said.
“In his push for amnesty for criminals, the president ignored the price paid by victims — the price paid by Kate Steinle as she died in her father’s arms on San Francisco’s waterfront,” he said. “Kate’s beautiful life was taken from her on July 1, 2015, when she was shot in the back by an illegal alien who had previously been deported five times and was seeking refuge in a so-called sanctuary city.”
Meanwhile last week, a San Francisco judge allowed to go forward a family lawsuit accusing the federal government of contributing to Steinle’s death because of its failure to enforce immigration laws and other reasons.
In a 49-page order issued Friday, U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero allowed Steinle’s parents to proceed with the lawsuit against the federal government but dismissed their lawsuit against the city of San Francisco.
Investigators said Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez filed the fatal shot from a stolen .40-caliber government-issued firearm that disappeared days earlier from a Bureau of Land Management officer’s personal vehicle.
Steinle’s parents argued that the federal government failed them by allowing its employees to exhibit poor gun safety practices in addition to ignoring its own immigration laws.
“Kate’s death was both foreseeable and preventable had the law enforcement agencies, officials and/or officers involved simply followed the laws, regulations and/or procedures which they swore to uphold,” the 2015 lawsuit states.
In support of the bill in Congress, Mr. Cruz said the American people had given Congress and the incoming administration a mandate to “reverse the dangerous course set under the Obama Administration that has encouraged illegal immigration and enabled lawbreakers to escape prosecution.”
“Kate’s Law is crucial to ensure that deported illegal aliens, especially those with violent criminal records, are deterred from illegally re-entering the United States to prey on innocent Americans,” Mr. Cruz said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and President-elect Trump to once and for all prevent cities from harboring illegal aliens, enforce federal immigration laws, and ensure the safety and security of the American people.”
During the presidential campaign, Republican Donald Trump championed the Steinle family and the parents of other victims of illegal immigrant crime. Steinle’s name was included in a list of victims cited by Mr. Trump in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.