Jim Steinle, the father of Kate Steinle, who was shot and killed on a pier in San Francisco less than a month ago, called on Congress yesterday to pass legislation that would take “undocumented felons off our streets for good.”  “The U.S has suffered a self-inflicted wound in the murder of our daughter by the hand of a person that should have never been on the streets of this country,” Steinle told Senate Judiciary panel during an oversight hearing on immigration policy.  Steinle’s alleged shooter, Francisco Sanchez, had five previous convictions for re-entry after deportation, according to court records, and seven prior felony convictions.  Sanchez, who has been arrested for the July 1 shooting, had been previously released by the San Francisco sheriff’s office in April.

The recent high profile murder in San Francisco has spun off a potentially unfortunate legal consequence, as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that would subject those convicted of illegal re-entry after a prior deportation a mandatory minimum 5-year prison sentence. While the loss of a young innocent girls life is tragic, this solution is simply adding massive problems to an already gargantuan problem.  A 5-year mandatory minimum for re-entry is a terrible idea that would simply be a huge waste of taxpayer dollars and contribute to an already overcrowded prison system.  While it seems like it may act as a deterrent, it won’t.  It will place many undocumented persons with zero criminal history behind bars for 5 years for simply reentering without papers after a prior order of removal. Many times people are deported unlawfully in violation of their rights or because they were not properly represented by an attorney. To subject such persons to a mandatory 5 year prison sentence would be unjust. North County Immigration does not support this Congressional measure and does not feel it would achieve the goal of stopping people from reentering the U.S. as most of these immigrants are desperate to begin with, and the end result would just be a drastic slow down and backlog of our immigration legal process.

If you have know someone who has been previously deported caught re-entering the United States and is subject to criminal re-entry charges, contact us to learn how we can help you.  We are experts at identifying if the previous removal order was lawful, and if not, challenging it so as to avoid criminal re-entry convictions.