Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, who was arrested two years ago for killing 32-year-old Kate Steinle, out on an evening stroll with her father on the San Francisco waterfront, finally went on trial for murder last week. Mr. Zarate, a career criminal, is something of an illegal-immigration artist. He had been deported five times.

Justice delayed is justice denied, and 27 months have passed for Miss Steinle’s parents waiting to get their day in court. Congress, as is often its leisurely custom, has still not got around to completing legislation, named Kate’s Law, strengthening penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States. The Republican majority in the House passed the legislation, 257 votes to 157, together with a measure that would prohibit so-called sanctuary cities and counties from receiving certain federal grants. All but one Republican voted for Kate’s Law, and were joined by 24 Democrats. But Democratic filibusters and threats of filibusters have held up passage in the Senate. President Trump is eager to sign the legislation to make it the law.

Jose Garcia Zarate, 54, admits shooting Miss Steinle but says it was an accident. He said he found a pistol wrapped in a T-shirt under a bench and when he picked it up it discharged accidentally, and the bullet struck Miss Steinle, piercing an artery in her heart. His lawyer, a public defender, calls the remarkable, and remarkably convenient, coincidence a “freakish ricochet.” What is even more “freakish” is that the gunman, whether voluntary or accidental gunman, has made so many roundtrips between his home in Mexico and the United States. He has led a remarkable life in crime, having been convicted of felonies seven times. He had just finished a four-year sentence in a U.S. prison shortly before he killed Miss Steinle.

He was back on the streets of San Francisco, where the singer Tony Bennett had famously left his heart, because “the city by the bay” is a sanctuary city, which holds itself above the law for everybody else. Federal immigration authorities had filed a detainer request asking San Francisco authorities to keep him in custody while questions about his immigration status were resolved. If he is convicted of second-degree murder for the slaying of Miss Steinle he faces a sentence of 15 years to life in a federal prison.

Neither the killing of Miss Steinle, nor the deaths of dozens of other Americans at the hands of illegal immigrants, as documented by the Houston-based Remembrance Project, is likely to shame San Francisco and other rebellious cities and counties across the country to cease providing “sanctuary” for those who think they have a right to be here by hook or crook. America is the land that immigrants built, and the nation rightly takes pride in its immigrant origins, but providing sanctuary for the lawless is a betrayal of all those immigrants who came to these shores playing by the rules, arriving with demonstrated respect for the law.

The Remembrance Project is meeting this week in Washington to apply pressure on the Senate to do its duty, not only in remembrance of a young woman whose life was snuffed out by a lawless man who had no right to be here, but as a tribute to the rule of law. How can a senator do less?

© Copyright (c) 2017 News World Communications, Inc.

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