(CBS SF) — Republicans running for president discussed the topic of sanctuary cities and the death of Pleasanton resident Kate Steinle as they faced off for the first debate of the 2016 election cycle.
One viewer asked them via Facebook if they’d support “Kate’s Law,” which would restrict federal funding for sanctuary cities and impose mandatory prison time for deported immigrants who return illegally.
Steinle was killed earlier last month as she and her family walked along a San Francisco pier. The man who allegedly shot her, Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, has several felony convictions and had been deported five times before the shooting.
He was last released by authorities in San Francisco, a city with a “sanctuary” policy of minimal cooperation with federal authorities on immigration issues.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz who authored the senate version of the Kate’s Law blamed U.S. leaders for not enforcing current immigration laws.
“President Obama’s talked about fundamentally transforming this country,” Cruz said. “There’s 7 billion people across the face of the globe, many of whom want to come to this country. If they come legally, great. But if they come illegally, and they get amnesty, that is how we fundamentally change this country.”
President Obama has threatened to veto the bill.
Candidate Jeb Bush has also supported ending the policy of sanctuary cities.
“We need to have strategic border control,” he said Thursday. “We need to fix (the immigration system) once and for all and have a path for legal citizenship, not amnesty.”
Donald Trump was the first to condemn the killing and use of sanctuary cities on social media.