San Francisco victim’s father to testify before Senate

San Francisco victim’s father to testify before Senate
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The father of a young woman allegedly killed at the hands of an illegal immigrant will visit Capitol Hill this week to discuss President Obama's immigration policies.

Jim Steinle, the father of Kathryn Steinle, will testify Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with family members of other victims of crimes committed by people in the United States illegally.

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Republicans have long accused the administration of lax enforcement of immigration laws, charges they've amplified in the wake of Kathryn Steinle's death last month.

Scheduled by committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa), the hearing aims to examine the effect on public safety of the administration's "misdirected immigration enforcement policies," according to a notice from Grassley's office.

Kathryn Steinle, 32, was fatally shot while walking with her father along San Francisco's waterfront. The police have charged Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant with a history of felony convictions who had been deported to Mexico at least five times.

In March, the Federal Bureau of Prisons had released Lopez-Sanchez to the San Francisco Police Department for an outstanding arrest warrant on drug charges. Within weeks, the local authorities dropped those charges and released Lopez-Sanchez without informing federal immigration officials, despite their requests to be notified and his status as a top deportation priority of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The episode has launched a national discussion about "sanctuary cities," which largely refuse to cooperate with federal immigration policies. It has raised questions about communication between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials, and intensified the already headed immigration reform debate on Capitol Hill.

Supporters of the sanctuary laws, including many Democrats, say they help local law enforcement by encouraging cooperation from those in the community who might otherwise remain silent for fear of being deported. Joining Obama, they're calling on Republicans to move comprehensive legislation to fix an immigration system that all sides agree is broken.

Critics of the sanctuary laws, including many Republicans, say they create havens that encourage people to enter the country illegally, overstay their visas and other criminal behavior. GOP lawmakers have refused to enact immigration reforms, arguing that they can't trust the president to adopt them in good faith.

Also scheduled to testify before the Judiciary panel Tuesday are Laura Wilkerson, the mother of Joshua Wilkerson, a Texas teenager killed by an illegal immigrant in 2010; Brian McCann, the brother of Dennis McCann, killed by an illegal immigrant who was driving drunk in Chicago in 2011; and Michael Ronnebeck, the uncle of Grant Ronnebeck, an Arizona convenience store clerk gunned down in January, allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant with a long criminal record.