President Trump's threats to punish sanctuary cities may have seen some legal setbacks, but the Republican-led House of Representatives has now stepped in to pass two bills cracking down on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities. As the Associated Press reports, one bill, dubbed "Kate's Law" in honor of Kathryn Steinle despite repeated protestations by Steinle's family that her death not be exploited for political purposes imposes harsher prison sentences for deportees like accused Steinle killer Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez who re-enter the country illegally. The second bill reinforces what the President's executive order already tried to accomplish, which is barring sanctuary states and cities from receiving certain Justice Department and Homeland Security grants, particularly those related to law enforcement and terrorism.
A federal judge in San Francisco previously ruled that the "broad and threatening language" of Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities was unconstitutional, and that "Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions later conceded that the executive order would only impact certain federal law enforcement grants, and would not greatly impact San Francisco's budget.
The House bills passed with 228-195 and 257-167 majorities, with 24 Democrats joining Republicans in supporting "Kate's Law." Both bills now move on to the Senate.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a 54-year-old Mexican national who had previously been deported from the US on drug charges, has pleaded not guilty in the July 2015 shooting of Steinle on Pier 14, and his defense attorney has claimed that the bullet that killed Steinle was likely a ricochet. Lopez-Sanchez has said that he was on sleeping medication at the time of the shooting, in which he used a gun stolen out of a vehicle belonging to a Bureau of Land Management agent, which Lopez-Sanchez allegedly found wrapped in a T-shirt under a public bench.
Almost immediately the shooting was seized upon by Fox News and other conservative media outlets as a flashpoint in the debate about immigration, suggesting that San Francisco was to blame for Steinle's death because of its lax policies around illegal immigrants. President Trump also mentioned the case multiple times on the campaign trail.