Voters in San Francisco administered a small measure of justice for Kate Steinle by overwhelmingly defeating the sheriff who put a seven-time convicted illegal alien felon back on the streets, rather than turn him over to federal immigration authorities. Fortunately for Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, he only paid for his reckless disregard for public safety with his job. Kate Steinle paid with her life.
The stunning 61%-31% defeat of Mirkarimi also represents a stern rebuke to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which just two weeks ago, unanimously reaffirmed their support for the sanctuary policies that led directly to Steinle’s murder. It was also a repudiation of the California Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown, which have implemented similar policies statewide.
The reverberations from yesterday’s decisive rejection of mindless sanctuary policies for illegal aliens by San Francisco voters should be felt nationwide. Ironically, just two weeks ago, the U.S. Senate rejected legislation that would have withheld certain federal funds to jurisdictions, like San Francisco, that openly defy ICE detainer requests for criminals held by police and sheriffs’ departments.
Even as California, San Francisco, and the U.S. Senate have refused to act to rein in dangerous sanctuary policies after the needless death of Ms. Steinle, there have been some hopeful signs that authorities in other states are recognizing the threat. Last week, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed H.B. 318, a bill that, among other things, bars sanctuary policies in the state. Also last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned that the state would take action to ban sanctuary policies if local jurisdictions do not cooperate with detainer requests from ICE.
In the aftermath of Kate Steinle’s death, her family openly called for an end to the sort of sanctuary policies that put her killer back on the streets. Yesterday, the voters of San Francisco responded to that plea. It is now up to politicians in San Francisco and across the nation to heed the Steinle family and voters from across the political spectrum to end policies that place a higher priority on protecting illegal aliens than protecting the security of the American public.