Swalwell Calls for Update and Action on Immigration Enforcement Reform after Senseless Murder of Pleasanton Native Kate Steinle

November 6, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson, U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell (CA-15) requested an update on DHS actions to address possible gaps in immigration enforcement demonstrated by the tragic murder of Kate Steinle in July. Kate’s family resides in Pleasanton, CA, a city located in Swalwell’s congressional district. Swalwell served on the House Homeland Security Committee in his first term in Congress.

“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.”

Kate’s accused murderer, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was previously deported five times and had seven felony convictions.  After he completed a prison sentence in March 2015, he was transferred to the San Francisco Sherriff’s Department because of a 1995 warrant relating to a marijuana charge.  That case was quickly dropped, and he was eventually released.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not notified prior to his release by the San Francisco Sherriff’s Department, as it had requested.

“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.

The full letter can be viewed here.