The tragic death of Kathryn Steinle, and lessons it may teach

sanchez steinle ap

Within days of Donald Trump’s controversial assault on Mexican immigrants, Kathryn Steinle, a photogenic 32-year-old woman, was shot down and killed in San Francisco, allegedly by an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Trump and other Republicans rushed to cite that case as tragic confirmation of his claims.

To make matters worse, the suspect in the case, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, had a record of seven drug-related felonies, had already been deported five times, and had been released by San Francisco officials in April as part of its “sanctuary-city” policy rather than turned over to federal authorities as they had requested.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately,” Trump said. “This is an absolutely disgraceful situation and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it.”

State Sen. Josh McCoon

State Sen. Josh McCoon

But of course he’s not the only one. Here in Georgia, state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, quickly called a press conference to announce legislation that would further target illegal immigrants in Georgia and also require local law enforcement to hold all suspected illegal immigrants for federal authorities, stripping local agencies of their discretion in the matter.

“The Obama administration and local governments across the nation are releasing convicted, violent deportable criminal aliens onto American streets who are murdering innocent people,” McKoon alleged, citing the Steinle case as just the most recent example of an alleged wide-scale federal refusal to arrest and deport criminal immigrants.

Let’s put this into context and set some things straight:

First, contrary to McKoon’s implication, the number of immigrants with criminal records who have been deported by the federal government almost doubled in five years, from 105,000 in 2008 to 198,000 in 2013, the last full year for which data are available. (See Table 41) The federal government has made it a top priority to focus its efforts on finding, arresting and deporting illegal immigrants with a criminal record, and it has been highly successful in doing so. Any claim to the contrary is a fabrication.

Second, on average, 44 Americans are murdered every single day, 30 of them with firearms. To the degree that Steinle’s tragic murder is unique, it’s because the vast, vast majority of those people were killed by other Americans — people who were born here and raised here. Steinle’s death at the hands of an illegal immigrant, tragic as it was, is the exception rather than the rule. And pretending that Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez is somehow typical of the threat posed by illegal immigrants is no more valid than using Dylann Roof as emblematic of the threat posed by young white men.

Third, all of the data that we have available says that immigrants, both legal and illegal, are considerably less likely than native-born Americans to run afoul of the law. How do we know that? Easy. We count who ends up in prison. That data tell us that immigrants — both legal and illegal — are much less likely to end up in state prisons than native-born Americans.**

In New Jersey, a 2008 study found that immigrants make up 10 percent of the state population but 5 percent of those in state prison. In California, immigrants make up 35 percent of the population but just 17 percent of those in prison. The same is true nationwide: “Among men age 18-39 (who comprise the vast majority of the prison population), the 3.5 percent incarceration rate of the native-born in 2000 was 5 times higher than the 0.7 percent incarceration rate of the foreign-born.”

And in the absence of data demonstrating that Mexico is sending us its worst, as Trump claimed, you are left with standard-issue anti-immigrant bigotry as the explanation for that claim.

Fourth, it is interesting to watch Republicans stomp their feet and insist that local law enforcement be stripped of its independence and dragooned into submitting to the priorities of the federal government rather than the priorities of the communities in which they serve.

At the moment, local police forces and communities still have the freedom to decide what approach best suits their needs. Some believe that close cooperation with federal immigration authorities alienates local law enforcement from local immigrant communities, causing a breakdown of cooperation in which crimes and criminals go unreported. Others believe that the benefits of close cooperation with immigration officials more than offsets any drawbacks.

According to a 2014 study, however, communities that chose to cooperate with immigration officials through the federal Secure Communities program saw no reduction in the crime rate for doing so.

 

“Our results show that Secure Communities led to no meaningful reductions in the FBI index crime. rate. Nor has it reduced rates of violent crime — homicide, rape, robbery, or aggravated assault. This evidence shows that the program has not served its central objective of making communities safer.”

 

There’s no question that San Francisco officials should not have released Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. It was a serious mistake with tragic consequences. The mayor of San Francisco describes it as a breakdown of the system, rather than a product of the system, but an investigation is needed to determine whether that is true and what changes need to be made. “Let me be clear,” Mayor Ed Lee said afterward. “San Francisco’s sanctuary-city policy protects residents regardless of immigration status and is not intended to protect repeat, serious and violent felons.”

But in the end, the tragic death of Kathryn Steinle is just that, a tragic death of an innocent person, with none of the political lessons that some have rushed to project upon it. Despite the ramblings of Trump and his ilk, immigrants from Mexico, whether illegal or illegal, are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. And the federal government is not ignoring or downplaying the threat posed by criminal aliens, but is instead addressing it forcefully.

————–

**And yes, the studies do account for the fact that immigrants who commit crimes are sometimes deported rather than imprisoned.

Reader Comments 1

1088 comments
Parents & taxpayers
Parents & taxpayers

It's shameful that President Obama has yet to phone the parents of the murdered girl.

"The murder of Steinle struck a chord like nothing else, because it came to symbolize the vulnerability Americans feel about the failure of government to protect us from people who shouldn't be here in the first place.

"Statistics about 'immigrants' having lower crime rates are irrelevant...

"...Some claim that the rate of murder and crime by illegal immigrants is no higher than for those here legally, but that's an obfuscation. Any murder or crime by an illegal immigrant is one too many, because that person should not be in our country in the first place."
— National Review

Alan Mendoza
Alan Mendoza

I think, commenter who likes to speak for others( who gave you that right?), that YOU are afraid. And that's okay. It's okay to be afraid, but you miss the entire point of this article which was to shine a light on xenophobia. I'm from a small community and, believe me, I feel I comfortable around others when I'm in a big city. When your fear begins affecting the life of others, however, we've got a problem. The point of this article was to show that general, blind, stupid fear of foreigners was used to further the political agenda of an orange clown. Let's talk about how this guy was able to get a gun in the first place? I think this is a more pressing issue than your hatred and petty fear. Let's talk about how the man was just acquired. How does this make you feel now?

Peachs
Peachs

I see a lot of the south in the Greek defiance.  We are wrong but we love being a rebel and telling the world to sick it.  I actually like this personality as long as you don't drag the church, in the southern defiance, into the mix.  One of the things of my youth was no one who acted like this claimed any kinship to a church, or looked for that as an accuse.  If you didn't like something that was you hating it not God. People were trying to drag me to church all the time and when I finally went I saw the same conduct there that they were wanting to drag me away from only they blamed it on something besides themselves.

Peachs
Peachs

I do the same rush to judgment on Republicans.  I get so mad at them for doing to the weak and downtrodden, that I forget they are the ones that are persecuted in this country.  I question their addiction to fiction leading their lives instead of facts.  I see it so much that I assume everything they do is swallow and greed driven and that the right in mass underestimates and lacks respect for the complications of their actions. We live in subpar American conditions in Georgia, I think to myself it is our fault for choices we make, but maybe I am as wrong condemning people who have no control of their thoughts and actions any more than a Mexican trying to go to sunlight and a better life for his family.  A Christian in many cases who practice that faith thought the thought that God will protect him on his journey as he protected our forefathers coming to the world centuries ago.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Peachs  Thank you for not making sense so early in the day. Just who are (specifically not some silly generalization) the weak and downtrodden and what exactly are the Republicans doing to them.

Peachs
Peachs

@InTheMiddle2 @Peachs  see that is a question you already have the answer to but you pretend you don't know the answer like a bank robber with a million dollars in his trunk  doesn't know where that money came from.  Somewhere you have learn to compartmentalize the truth and in doing so your common sense has left you. 

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

The photogenic Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez had a rap sheet longer than is arm with several failed deportations to boot. The beautiful young woman he murdered was in the prime of her life and died as a result of a failed illegal immigration enforcement system.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Recon2/3  Yep. This is going to be hot button issue in the forthcoming election. The left will do everything they can to marginalize and minimize this event (which is the whole reason for Jays article). .

dbm1
dbm1

@Recon2/3 

She died because our misguided restrictions on immigration bleeped up the whole situation involving immigrants and made it easier for a bad guy to fall through the cracks.  We should repeal all restrictions on immigration except for convicted felons. 

Normd
Normd

Recon says..."If they imply or otherwise outright call those who reside in a huge region within the United States of America traitors merely because they hold on to a symbol that represents respect for their ancestors who suffered along with this great Republic, through an ugly Civil War then they themselves are indeed traitors."


The trouble is this statement is dishonest and the flag taken down has nothing to do with heritage and everything to do with hatred.  Remember ALWAYS, the "Stars and Bars" was put back up in southern cities as a protest against integrated schools and voting/equal rights for the southern Black man and woman.  It didn't become a flag of hate because a liberal said it was, it became a flag of hate because southern (then) democrats wanted no black man to have the same rights he had.  hatred and fear, plain and simple.  The time to glorify the Confederate fighting flags and the honor by which they were served, rightly or wrongly, flew out the window when the southern politician used it to symbolized Jim Crow.  Hatred and fear, plain and simple

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@Normd  For the most part I agree Norm but there are some of us who don't look at as a racist symbol but fully understand why it is looked upon that way for the very reasons you mentioned.I look at as a symbol of the place I call home and wish it hadn't been hi-jacked for racist reasons.

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

@Normd 

Well I'll tell you Normd, how your statement is dishonest. How so, you ask...well okay, you see we both go back a long way on this blog and I recall you several years ago defending the South by stating your view that the civil war was about state rights and Northern aggression. What made you change your rhetoric, probably your allegiance to the far-left and your subsequent mind correction on the subject. But you carry on, sailor.

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

@Normd @SFM_Scootter 

It was hi-jacked by the far-left for political gain at the expense of those good Christian people at that AME church in Charleston who were murdered along with their families who they left behind. How disgusting is this slime to use these people.

Cherokee51
Cherokee51

To all of you who treasure your faith as Christians, you should read I Corinthians 8:6-9.


Paul encouraged Christians to choose not to do everything that they can do, in order not to offend others.


Can you really honestly say that black people have no reason for offense at a flag that has been corrupted by its association with the KKK and racism and Jim Crow?


So, just as Paul graciously gave up the freedom that he had to eat meat that had been involved in idol sacrifice, perhaps it would be gracious of you as a Christian to give up a flag that has been so hurtful to one third of the population.

US_Patriot
US_Patriot

@CherokeeCounty "....... so hurtful to one third of the population."  


Wow, must be new math up there in Cherokee County.  Is the air really than thin?


Whatever, I agree w/ Scooter......NO!

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@US_Patriot @CherokeeCounty  If you were like a lib you would have asked him for proof of his assertion.Obviously you aren't a lib.  LOL  And of course no other lib here will ask him for proof!

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

@CherokeeCounty 

Good grief did you yourself read that passage in scripture? Or did you simply postulate from some site that you visit for interpretation. Geez, you were no where close. 

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

In the aftermath of Dylann Roofs cowardly act of hatred we have the far-left loons coming forth with their own brand of hatred. This hatred is directed at Southern born people who for the most part ( unlike Dylann Roof) have viewed the Confederate battle flag as symbolic of the sacrifice many of their ancestors made during the Civil War. They do not as Roof and a small minority of his like minded view the Confederate Battle flag as a symbol of racist hatred against Black people. These ignorant stooges of the far-left are with their idiotic rants demeaning those Black Christians who fell victim to one racist coward along with their families by taking their tragic loss and politicizing it. Should the Confederate flag be removed from state capital buildings, probably as the Civil War has been over for 150 years. Should the flag be removed from Confederate cemeteries and should makers of Confederate flags and other products be pressured into discontinuing production, absolutely not. They should not cave to this hysteria created by the liberal left who comprise a small minority of the American population. The left has the unmitigated gall to call people in a large region of the continental United States traitors where in reality it is they who're the traitors.

honested
honested

@Recon2/3 

I don't care if the Traitor flag flies at Traitor Cemeteries forever. It reminds sentient Southerners of the devastating losses those Traitors caused our State and region due to the unforgiveable arrogance of the planter classes.

Should 'confederate Traitor products' still be commercially available? Maybe, but the stars on the flag should be replaced with the word 'MORON' with the 'O' in the middle of the cross.

Look dude, if you or I put together a band of nutballs who felt that for whatever reason 'we' were 'above' the rule of law in the United States, conspired and took up arms against the United States, we would be met with maximum force to put down any such TREASON!!!

If, on the other hand, a sufficient number of Americans felt sufficiently put upon, both the Constitution and established methodology in the RULE OF LAW provides for redress against the grievances that may exist.

Insisting against all odds that our 'heritage' or 'way of life' were at risk (i.e., 'we will have to get a job and work if we can't derive our bread by wringing it from the sweat of another man's face') doesn't cut it now and didn't cut it then.

THE SOUTH LOST (BADLY)!!!

Suck it up.

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@Recon2/3  I was with you until the last sentence.I don't agree with the far left or the far right but also don't think of either as traitors.

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

@SFM_Scootter @Recon2/3 

If they imply or otherwise outright call those who reside in a huge region within the United States of America traitors merely because they hold on to a symbol that represents respect for their ancestors who suffered along with this great Republic, through an ugly Civil War then they themselves are indeed traitors. See honested.

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@Recon2/3 @SFM_Scootter  I agree with very little that ed has to say but still can't see where that makes him a traitor.I do realize some on the left call cons traitors and don't agree with that either.

US_Patriot
US_Patriot

@honested - "Look dude, if you or I put together a band of nutballs who felt that for whatever reason 'we' were 'above' the rule of law in the United States, conspired and took up arms against the United States, we would be met with maximum force to put down any such TREASON!!!"


Gee, sounds like the current administration in the White House.  You ready?


Nah, didn't think so.  Typical.

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

@honested @Recon2/3 @SFM_Scootter 

No it wasn't...it was a point in our history that was ugly but not in and of itself treasonous on either side. Your intrinsic ignorance certainly doesn't offend me at all.

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@Recon2/3 @SFM_Scootter  It's just the usual lib insult you see here on a daily basis but I don't know who started it.Who ever it was I'll guess and say it was a yankee or scalawag.  LOL

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

@SFM_Scootter @Recon2/3 @honested 

Ed, doesn't have a point. We were still very much in the formative years of our country and there was a profound difference in the view of state rights, which led to the succession and civil war. Slavery wasn't the paramount issue as slavery existed in the North as well as in the South. State rights is becoming an issue of our time as well and we'll see where it leads. Hopefully, no where near that time in the 1800's.

honested
honested

@Recon2/3 @SFM_Scootter 

Read this carefully, as I tire of making it clear.......

THE CIVIL WAR BEGINNING WITH THE ATTACK ON FORT SUMTER WAS TREASON AGAINST THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!!

I don't care if it 'offends' you, it is still the truth.

fedup52
fedup52

Mexican Drug Lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman Escapes Prison for Second Time

+++++

Thanks Obama.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Christine Matthews, a Republican pollster, noted that in a recent focus group of swing- voting women there was a surprising amount of interest in Donald Trump. “They don’t agree with what he says — but they like the fact that he will say anything and that’s he’s not handled, not beholden, not packaged,” she noted. “They hate what politics has become. He is a disruption to that.”

That's a good call.  Politicians have made using excessive verbiage to say absolutely nothing a true art form.  The exception would be Ron Paul, and what did expressing his views on the Iraq war get him? Banned from the GOP debate in Iowa back in 2008.

Silly me, I thought the whole purpose of a debate was to discuss different points of view.  Apparently not.

honested
honested

@breckenridge 

Just put chump on the ticket.

It will save the Democratic party half a billion in campaign expenses.

Dusty2
Dusty2

These are sad days for America.  A mob and a murderer have set the tone for SC government policies that lead to discord. That  is exactly what the killer Roof wanted  and he got it .  We can thank  a hysteric crowd unable to adjust to a historical flag  after 150 years.  It ruins the good will of all involved.  The successes of the past have been drowned in hate. Even the good words of the families of murdered victims are over thrown  by haters of others..


This pot is being stirred by white activists like JamVet with his usual mania for selected groups.   Others, such as black politicians, depend on past history and its tragedies to push themselves forward.   They offer little else and stir the pot.  .


Progress is now stalled while we try to offset the results of hate.  It is not white Southerners running with prejudice  They lost that many years ago.  It is those who cannot escape the narrow frames of their minds but blame it on others.


The principles of America demand freedom for all.  Southerners are  being criminalized for the simple act of respecting their ancestors of many generations. . That is not freedom but oppression.  

JamVet
JamVet

@Dusty2 

Love this land for once, old gal!

These are indeed sad days.

For the treasonous Confederacy, but not the beacon of freedom and liberty, the USA!

Sad days for those who continue to defiantly revere symbols of slavery, torture and murder. 

You'll feel a whole lot better letting go of the racial hatred that you honor.

And if you were being criminalized - instead of lying about it - I'd see you in prison.

But not to worry, God loves you anyway!

honested
honested

@Dusty2 

Dude, wherever you are it must be a sad and dark place.

Haven't you noticed the number of your fellow 'white people' (like me) who have tired of the clownish behavior over the last 50 years?

Without brutality to protect your 'heritage' we would have put it all in the past long ago.

For instance, did you notice the broad refusal to 'celebrate' the 150th anniversary of the war of southern treason?

Just why do you think that is?

Renteroo
Renteroo

Bull, Dusty. Either get over your racism or keep it to yourself. You're not getting "your" country back.

Dusty2
Dusty2

@honested @Dusty2 


Crude,  the South is a sunny place of good will except for a few people like you who decide how history should be changed. 


We recognize a war that happened 150 years ago and we celebrate.  We celebrate all the many accomplishments and successes  that followed for all races.  Southerners were  and are strong people who fought for their rights. Nobody says we are perfect but we have left hate behind.   Not you, obviously, and a few others who think someone else is responsible  for their problems.


Too bad for you. Maybe we can get the name of your street  changed to Sherman 's Burnside.    That might make you feel better. Cheers!  . 

honested
honested

@Dusty2 @honested 

I just wondered, do you have any problems determining whether it is dark or daylight?

You seem to have severe difficulties in differentiating so many other aspects of reality.

honested
honested

@fedup52 

This is a wonderful opportunity for wrong-wing xtians of all stripes to rush into Iraq and put their lives on the line.

No matter what happens, America wins.

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