Kate Steinle murder has released an uproar against undocumented immigrants and now against ICE (Immigration Custom Enforcement), a unit of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In a federal lawsuit, Kate Steinle’s family is suing DHS for failure to actually perform their duties. The lawsuit according to CNN.com mentions that “by prohibiting the notification to ICE necessary for custody, detention, deportation and/or removal of undocumented convicted felons, the March Memo deprived KATE of life and liberty without due process, as required under the United States Constitution.”
Recently the city of San Francisco has renewed its commitment of being a ‘sanctuary city’. This is quite counter-intuitive for many who would have thought that after the sad death of Kate Steinle, the sanctuary city will be over. However the logic of San Francisco and the protection of the undocumented immigrants is founded that most immigrants are not criminals just like it is being portrayed. They also believed that by working with the immigrants, ICE and the local law enforcement will be able to actually get rid of many “criminals” either they are documented or undocumented.
Most immigrants undocumented or not are usually more law-abiding individuals than citizens. Many reports including one by the American Immigration Council show that ‘Immigrants are Less Likely to be Criminals Than the Native-Born.’ Yet many politicians have taken advantage of the situation of the Kate Stein tragedy as a generalization to pound on immigrants a guilt by association.
While I usually do not defend ICE, in the case of Kate Steinle, I should say that there is only so much DHS could do. ICE and CBP can barely keep track of the thousands of immigrants who enter illegally on a daily basis. It is true that they should have responded to the Sherif’s office call, but due to the difficulties and the underfunding of the programs, DHS is limited in its ability to actually do its job properly. On the other hand, DHS have placed a lot of its resources in actually hunting aliens who have fallen out of status, instead of focusing on the ‘real criminals’.
The question who is to be blamed? Well the answer is not so simple. As an immigration lawyer, I will blame Congress for not passing fair immigration laws and the underfunding of the system. I agree that dangerous criminals should be kept off the street. But at least one hundred people die everyday of gunshots. Guns are definitely dangerous tools, yet there are still debates if we can keep them in the hands of people. A similar debate is taking place for immigrants. The only difference is that guns are objects but immigrants are humans!
Kate Steinle death is really heart-breaking, but blaming an entire community for the crime of one person is not only illogical but totally unfair. We need to actually deal with serious criminals, but we cannot just actually blame innocents. Undocumented immigrants are not criminals. There only crime (if it is a crime) is to find a better life for themselves or their children. A life just like most people want for themselves and for their children. As such the only way we can decrease “illegal immigration” is to give a chance to those with good moral character to actually stay in the United States and making it difficult for serious criminals to stay. Also we need to help other countries build their infrastructures. Simultaneously we need some immigration reform to give a chance to the thousands of immigrants which have been living in the Unites States.
With the lawsuit filed, it seems that things are going to really harsh on all immigrants. In the meantime, it is important as an immigrant to know your rights. Should you need help feel free to call us.