President Donald Trump used his weekly address Saturday to highlight his desire to get rid of sanctuary cities.
“‘Help me, Dad.’ Those were the last words spoken by Kate Steinle as she lay dying on a San Francisco pier – a precious young American woman killed in the prime of her life,” Trump said as he continued to highlight the 2015 death of Steinle at the hands of an illegal immigrant.
Steinle’s killer Jose Inez Garcia Zarate, 54, was found not guilty two weeks ago of murder or involuntary manslaughter. Garcia Zarate was a seven-time convicted illegal immigrant who had been previously deported from the U.S. five times. He was released from San Francisco jail prior to Steinle’s killing.
Garcia Zarate, 54, told local media he was in San Francisco because of its lax immigration policies.
The Mexican illegal immigrant admitted to killing Steinle, but said the gun that he grabbed from under a bench went off by accident.
Trump said in his weekly address that “Kate’s death is a tragedy that was entirely preventable.”
“In sanctuary states and cities, innocent Americans are at the mercy of criminal aliens because state and local officials defy federal authorities and obstruct the enforcement of our immigration laws,” Trump added.
A bill introduced by House Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley Tuesday would prohibit localities that refuse to comply with immigration detainers from receiving certain grants.
“No American should be separated from their loved ones because of preventable crime committed by those illegally in our country. Our cities should be sanctuaries for Americans – not for criminal aliens,” Trump said in his address.
“Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress not only oppose our efforts to stop illegal immigration and crack down on sanctuary cities – now they are demanding amnesty as a condition for funding the government, holding troop funding hostage and putting our national security at risk. We cannot allow it.”
He added: “Every senator and congressman will have to make a choice: do they want to protect American citizens or do they want to protect criminal aliens? Reasonable people can disagree on many things, but there can be no disagreement that the first duty of government is to serve, protect, and defend American citizens.”
Trump’s remarks echo comments he made during a rally Friday night in Pensacola, Florida in which he laid out a litmus test for legislators. This list of immigration priorities include limiting legal immigration, implementing a merit-based immigration plan and hiring additional border patrol officers.
Grassley’s legislation, which is supported by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, largely accomplishes these goals.