The death of Kate Steinle, who was shot and killed while on a stroll with her father in San Francisco’ s Embarcadero, has become a rallying cry for more stringent immigration laws, including a crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities” and creation of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Calls for the border wall grew louder over the past few days, after a San Francisco jury acquitted a Mexican immigrant charged with the 32-year-old’s murder. On social media, many advocating for the border wall have used #KatesWall as they condemned the acquittal of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a convicted felon who was in the country illegally at the time of Steinle’s death.
President Donald Trump has demanded funding for the border wall, but Congress has yet to agree to provide beyond the $20 million allotted for prototypes and related infrastructure.
Many were angered by the jury’s decision to acquit Garcia Zarate of not only murder, but also lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. Jurors agreed with defense attorneys who argued that the shooting was accidental. The 45-year-old, who had previously entered the United States illegally six times and has seven prior felony convictions, was instead found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm, which carries a sentence of up to three years.
Back at Pier 14 in San Francisco, where Steinle was shot and killed in 2015, tall and short white candles were lined up neatly around and on a wooden bench. There’s also a picture of a smiling Steinle taped on a white poster and surrounded with handwritten messages.
“You’re not here because somebody who wasn’t supposed to be was,” one wrote.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Kristine Phillips