Months after the fatal shooting of Pleasanton native Kate Steinle by an undocumented immigrant, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) has called for renewed reform to immigration enforcement.
Swalwell sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last week, requesting an update as to "what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has done so far to address any deficiencies in immigration reform" that led to Steinle's death.
Steinle died in July after she was shot by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant who had been held earlier this year by the San Francisco Sheriff's Office on a decades-old drug charge. He was released because the charge had been dropped, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not notified upon his release.
"Kate's murder made national headlines, but it is personal to me and our Tri-Valley community. I have known Kate's family for years and grew up with her brother. The Steinle family's strength in the face of such tragedy has been remarkable, and I share their commitment to making sure something positive comes from her senseless death," said Swalwell. "Now that there has been ample time for DHS to assess the situation, I am asking for an update on actions taken and planned to address any failures in our immigration system that could have contributed to Kate's murder. We owe it to Kate and her family to make sure this tragedy never happens again."
Swalwell wrote in his letter to DHS that he understood why municipalities are hesitant to deport non-criminal, undocumented immigrants because it can "break apart families, and sows distrust in communities."
"There are good reasons to ensure we aren't deporting victims or witnesses of crimes. However, there is no reason to shield felons from removal. Federal and local officials must find a way to work together to make necessary corrections to our immigration practices for our public safety and the memory of Kate Steinle," added Swalwell.