SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The man charged with killing a 32-year-old woman on San Francisco’s waterfront is calling national attention to San Francisco’s status as a sanctuary city.

It’s that status that some say protected the suspect Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, 45, an undocumented immigrant with a long criminal history.

READ MORE: San Francisco Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Jump 567%; Mayor, Police Chief Pledge Response, Urge Residents To Report Crimes

Sanchez was detained near the Embarcadero shortly after allegedly shooting 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 last Wednesday.

He had seven felony convictions, but none recent and none violent when he was released by San Francisco authorities despite an immigration hold on the Mexican national who had been deported five times before.

In several jailhouse interviews, he admits he accidentally shot Steinle. He also confirmed that he came to the city because of its status as a sanctuary.

READ MORE: Gov. Newsom, Lawmakers Reach Agreement To Bring Back COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Through September

For more than two decades, San Francisco continues to be considered a sanctuary for people in the U.S. illegally, prohibiting police officers from accessing people’s immigration policy and even ignoring Immigration Customs and Enforcement detainer requests.

Here’s how the policy came to be:

MORE NEWS: San Bruno Police Searching For Suspects In Attempted Armed Robbery At Jewelry Store