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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

California Resolute in Sanctuary Status as a Heated Case Ends

New York Times
By Jennifer Medina
December 01, 2017

When Kathryn Steinle was killed in July 2015 while strolling with her father on a San Francisco pier, Donald J. Trump’s campaign was just two weeks old.

For the next 16 months, he seized on the killing as an example of the problems with illegal immigration and sanctuary cities. The man who fired the gun, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, was an undocumented immigrant who had been deported several times and had recently been freed by the San Francisco County sheriff.

Even amid the drumbeat of outrage from Mr. Trump and other Republicans over Ms. Steinle’s death — and now, Mr. Garcia Zarate’s acquittal on Thursday of murder — San Francisco and the rest of California have not taken a harder line against undocumented immigrants.

Instead, they have effectively doubled down on policies protecting them.

San Francisco has successfully sued the Trump administration to stop it from financially punishing sanctuary cities, which limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration officers. Both California and San Francisco, along with other cities, have set aside money to help pay for lawyers for undocumented immigrants facing deportation.

And in October, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed a law strictly limiting communication between local law enforcement and federal immigration officers, effectively turning all of California into a sanctuary state.

“California’s local law enforcement cannot be commandeered and used by the Trump Administration to tear families apart, undermine our safety, and wreak havoc on our economy,” Kevin de León, the Democratic leader of the State Senate, said in a statement when Mr. Brown signed the law, calling it “a wall of justice against President Trump’s xenophobic, racist and ignorant immigration policies.”

But while the fight over immigration has become symbolic of California’s role as a leader of the Democratic opposition to the president, the only fiery remarks over the last two days have come from Mr. Trump and other Republicans, a sign of the delicate position for leaders here in the face of the death of an American citizen.

After the acquittal, Mr. Trump called again for the construction of a border wall and threatened to use Ms. Steinle’s death against Democrats, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions again criticized sanctuary cities for “having put the public’s safety at risk.”

Donald J. Trump
The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court. His exoneration is a complete travesty of justice. BUILD THE WALL!
6:03 AM – Dec 1, 2017
20,707 20,707 Replies 34,806 34,806 Retweets 125,198 125,198 likes
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Donald J. Trump
The jury was not told the killer of Kate was a 7 time felon. The Schumer/Pelosi Democrats are so weak on Crime that they will pay a big price in the 2018 and 2020 Elections.
6:13 AM – Dec 1, 2017
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The reaction in California was far more muted. “San Francisco is and will always be a sanctuary city,” a spokesman for Edwin M. Lee, the city’s mayor, said in a statement, declining further comment.

Supporters of sanctuary policies say they build trust with immigrant communities and ultimately stop crime, and have argued that Ms. Steinle’s death was an aberration that was unfairly turned into political fodder. They say the policies also protect undocumented immigrants who are otherwise law-abiding, but opponents counter that such immigrants should not be immune from deportation.

“There is nothing more repugnant than the racist exploitation of tragedy and I think that people of California have a heightened sensitivity when that happens,” said Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which pushed for the statewide legislation.

In a poll this year by the Public Policy Institute of California, respondents were split when asked if they supported the new state law — 48 percent said they were in favor, compared with 42 percent who said they were opposed. Some of the support, said Mike Madrid, a Republican consultant based in Sacramento, may have had as much to do with feelings about Mr. Trump than about support for undocumented immigrants.

“This has become more than an immigration and economic issue, it’s become a cultural issue,” Mr. Madrid said. “This happened in California, the place that has become the beating heart and center of the resistance. Everyone is going to get out their shovel and dig deeper.”

Ms. Steinle’s parents — who, unlike other relatives of victims killed by undocumented immigrants, never appeared alongside Mr. Trump during the campaign — personify the difficulty of fitting the killing into the immigration debate. They have said that they support the concept of sanctuary cities, but that San Francisco officials made a mistake in releasing Mr. Garcia Zarate.

The family was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read on Thursday, but told The San Francisco Chronicle they were “shocked and saddened.”

At the time of the shooting, Mr. Garcia Zarate had a criminal record that included seven felony convictions, and he had been deported from the United States five times. He spent almost four years in a federal prison for illegally re-entering the country, then was sent to jail in San Francisco because of a warrant for a 20-year-old felony marijuana charge, which a local court dismissed almost immediately.

Federal officials said they issued a request to be notified when he would be released from jail, noting that they had an order for deportation. But the sheriff who runs the jail said that the city’s sanctuary ordinance meant that he could only respond to immigration authorities if they had a formal court order, which are rare with immigration charges. Mr. Garcia Zarate was released, and later that year, fired the gun that killed Ms. Steinle.

During the trial, lawyers for both sides reminded jurors that they were there to decide a criminal case, not debate immigration issues. Defense attorneys argued that Mr. Garcia Zarate had found the gun on the pier and fired it accidentally, which created enough reasonable doubt in juror’s minds against prosecutors’ claims that he had intentionally killed Ms. Steinle. Mr. Garcia was acquitted of murder, manslaughter, and assault with a firearm, and was convicted only of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

On Friday, federal officials moved to avoid a repeat of Mr. Garcia Zarate’s release. They secured an arrest warrant accusing him of violating his supervised release from prison, which will allow them to take custody of him for possible prosecution and deportation.

For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

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