The San Francisco Board of Supervisors sent a strong message yesterday about the sanctuary city policies that came under attack after the July killing of Kathryn Steinle, allegedly by an immigrant with no legal standing: The existing policies are just fine, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The board unanimously passed a resolution that says the sheriff should not notify federal immigration authorities when such immigrants are being released, except in very limited circumstances. In a surprise move, the board rejected another resolution that took aim at Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, whose actions some say let the Steinle shooting happen. The votes largely affirm Mirkarimi's existing policy of not notifying federal officials — the very policy that was attacked by politicians from Donald Trump to Mayor Ed Lee and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) after an immigrant felon who had been released from Sheriff's Department custody was charged with the shooting death of Steinle on Pier 14 as she walked with her father.
Under the resolution passed yesterday, suspect Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez still would have been released from custody before the shooting. That's because it says the only time the sheriff should notify federal immigration authorities is when an inmate with no legal status has a violent felony conviction in the past seven years and is facing another violent felony charge. Lopez-Sanchez had neither, although he had a laundry list of drug violations and been deported to Mexico five times previously. Yesterday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate blocked legislation that would have withheld some federal funding from cities that shield residents from federal immigration officials, the Los Angeles Times reports. Advocacy groups for immigrants urged members to reject the bill. Democrats were expected to continue preventing the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) from getting the 60 votes needed to move forward. The vote was 54 to 45.