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Interview: Mother Jones reporter on sanctuary cities and security

Josh Harkinson
A memorial to Kate Steinle, who was shot last week on San Francisco's Pier 14

Editor's note: This interview originally aired on Sept. 28, 2015. The text has been updated to reflect more details about the original lawsuit and that a federal magistrate dismissed the portion of suit against the city and its former sheriff on Jan. 6, 2017.   

In July 2015, 32- year old San Francisco resident Kate Steinle was walking along San Francisco’s Embarcadero when she was shot and killed on Pier 14. The alleged shooter, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico,  had been deported  from the U.S. multiple times and had seven felonies on his record. The case raised the issue of San Francisco as a “sanctuary city,” a status it’s held since 1989.

Steinle's parents sued the City and County of San Francisco, former San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and two federal agencies for wrongful death, negligence and a deprivation of federal civil rights. A federal magistrate dismissed the portion of the lawsuit against the city and Mirkarimi on Jan. 6, 2017. 

The case ignited a national conversation about whether sanctuary cities are more dangerous than others. Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson has explored that question.

HARKINSON: When local authorities do take up that role of immigration enforcement more directly, it undermines their ability to solve crimes.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.