Does U.S. Need Kate’s Law–A Mandatory Minimum For Deportees Who Return?


As political leaders seethe over the killing of Kathryn Steinle on the San Francisco waterfront, legislative remedies being tossed about range from ending sanctuary cities to “Kate's Law,” Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's proposal to toughen penalties for deported immigrants who recross the border, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Now comes the work of actually crafting legislation that will pass muster with lawmakers, a challenge far tougher than just talk. O'Reilly has taken up the cause of border enforcement since Steinle was killed on Pier 14 this month. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who is charged with her murder, has a string of felonies and deportations on his record and ended up free after the Sheriff's Department failed to contact immigration authorities about releasing him.

Steinle's parents endorsed O'Reilly's effort to gather 1 million signatures on a petition asking Congress to back “Kate's Law.” The bill would impose a five-year minimum mandatory sentence on an undocumented immigrant who returns to the U.S. after being deported. The advocacy group Families Against Mandatory Minimums denounced the idea. “If one tragedy means Congress is going to spend billions locking up maids for as long as we do MS-13 gang recruiters, we're going to see our prison crisis turn into a prison apocalypse,” said the group’s Molly Gill. “After 30 years of experience with mandatory minimums, most members of Congress know better than to pass a new one every time tragedy strikes. They’re smarter than that.”

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