US & CANADA: IMMIGRATION – Steinle verdict prompts concerns on US immigration


The case of a Mexican man being charged with and later acquitted for killing a woman on a popular pier in the US city of San Francisco has sparked criticism against the city and others like it for its immigration policies and for being a “sanctuary city”.

City officials vowed to stand behind their “sanctuary city” policy.

It’s what led Jose Ines Garcia Zarate to be released from San Francisco’s jail despite a federal request to detain him for deportation several weeks before Kate Steinle was fatally shot in the back in 2015.

He had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth.

Jurors rejected charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter but did convict Garcia Zarate of being a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail.

It’s likely he will have served long enough behind bars considering his time in custody.

US President Donald Trump called the verdict a “complete travesty of justice,” and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanded cities like San Francisco scrap immigration policies barring cooperation with federal deportation efforts.

Thousands of Twitter users turned to the hashtag #BoycottSanFrancisco.

Conservative politicians and celebrities such as former Alaska Gov Sarah Palin and actor James Woods lambasted the city.

There was reaction Friday near the scene of the shooting along a San Francisco pier, at a makeshift memorial to Steinle.

Some passers-by said they were outraged and saddened by her death.

San Francisco has consistently been an early adopter of some of the most immigrant-friendly policies nationwide, expanding protections to residents living in the country without documentation.

Hundreds of cities have similar policies, which Trump, Sessions and others blame for Steinle’s death.

Jurors left the courtroom Thursday without comment, and the judge sealed their identities. (Video:AP)

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