The politically explosive trial of Jose Zarate, accused of killing San Francisco native Kate Steinle in 2015 while she was walking with her father began last week with prosecutors insisting Zarate knew what he was doing and that it was no accident. Zarate, who has multiple criminal convictions in the U.S. and has been deported five times, was released from a San Francisco jail instead of being removed from the country just months before Steinle's murder because of San Francisco's controversial and illegal sanctuary policies.
Zarate had told police shortly after being arrested that when he's deported, he returned to San Francisco because of its sanctuary policies. In many corners, the needless killing has come to represent an easily preventable crime - through adequate border controls and a crackdown on sanctuary cities - that should never have happened.
But what has really changed since Steinle's death?
- San Francisco continues to embrace its sanctuary policies. The city council revisited the issue after Steinle's murder and doubled down on their support for sanctuary policies.
- California has underscored its support for sanctuary policies. The California governor recently signed a bill making California a sanctuary state.
- Attorney General Sessions has promised to "claw back" certain federal funds from sanctuary cities.
- The House of Representatives passed two bills dealing with the sanctuary issue: Kate's Law and No Sanctuary for Criminals Act. Both are awaiting Senate action.
- The number of sanctuary cities, which numbered around 300 when President Trump took office, continues to grow. Unbelievably, that number is now estimated to be around 500.