O'Malley defends 'sanctuary cities'
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Former Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-Md.) on Friday defended "sanctuary cities," which limit cooperation with federal officials on deportations, and took a swipe at his Democratic presidential rival Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Shontel Brown gaining ground against Nina Turner in Ohio: poll Biden hits trail for McAuliffe in test of his political brand MORE.

O'Malley said it was "lamentable" last week's seemingly random shooting death of a woman in San Francisco by a suspect deported five times had prompted "a rush to judgment and finger-pointing."

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"We can and should do better," O'Malley said in a statement, referring to the outcry following the killing of Kathryn Steinle, 32, allegedly by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 45.

Clinton said Wednesday during an interview with CNN that San Francisco officials "made a mistake not to deport someone the federal government" wanted out of the country before the shooting.

She noted that federal authorities had urged San Francisco to hold Lopez-Sanchez, with plans to deport him, before the city dropped drug-related charges and released him from prison in April.

"Local should not be blamed for the Federal Government's inability to fix our broken immigration system," O'Malley hit back Friday, "nor should they be held responsible for doing the Federal Government's job."

Last week's shooting has roiled the debate over illegal immigration, and has been invoked by some GOP presidential candidates such as Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE to call for tougher immigration laws.

Federal immigration officials have suggested San Francisco bears the brunt of the responsibility for the convicted felon being allowed to roam free, while the sheriff's office has said it was following procedures.

O'Malley has run to Clinton's left on issues and sought to shore up support among Hispanic voters. Despite his efforts, O'Malley is well behind both front-runner Clinton and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia US launches second Somalia strike in week MORE (I-Vt.).