Friday, July 1, 2016 01:38 PM
By: Bill Hoffmann

Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday slammed the "sanctuary cities" that flout immigration laws as he honored Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old woman shot dead by an illegal alien in San Francisco one year ago.

"Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a man who entered our country illegally five times and racked up multiple felonies, brutally killed Kate Steinle. And sadly now, an entire year later, the problem that prompted Kate's tragic, untimely death still exists," said Cruz, a Texas Republican.

"Kate Steinle was spending time with her father on San Francisco's Pier 14. What happened next was something that never should have occurred."

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, San Francisco is one of more than 200 "sanctuary cities" in 32 states with laws allowing them to avoid cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement authorities.

"[They] ignore federal law authorizing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to administratively deport illegal aliens without seeking criminal warrants or convictions from federal, state, or local courts," the center said.

Cruz called for immediate action on Capitol Hill to stop the practice with the enactment of "Kate's Law."

"Sanctuary cities and the criminal aliens they harbor are a threat to the safety of the American people. And yet, San Francisco and jurisdictions around the country still shelter illegal aliens, actively thwarting enforcement of our nation's immigration laws," he said.

"Let me be clear, defiance of our immigration laws is inexcusable. On Wednesday of next week, the Senate is scheduled to vote on 'Kate's Law,' legislation I authored and named in honor of Kate Steinle.

"This legislation would deter dangerous illegal aliens from reentering the country after being deported by imposing a five-year minimum sentence for certain illegal reentry offenses. Next week, Congress has an opportunity to take a stand for the American people, but today, we remember Kate."

Before her tragic death, Steinle worked as a medical device sales representative and was a volunteer with the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Lopez-Sanchez, 52, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Steinle's death. Three months, before the shooting he had been released from federal prison after a felony conviction for re-entering the United States illegally.

He was then transferred to the custody of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department on a drug arrest warrant and federal officials had asked to be notified before his release. But the sheriff's department said since the charges were dismissed and no warrant or judicial order was active for Sanchez's removal, the city's policy deemed him "ineligible for extended detention" and he was freed.