In a Fox News appearance following the verdict that set free the illegal immigrant Jose Inez Garcia Zarate, acting ICE Director Tom Homan slammed the sanctuary cities policies that allowed a lawbreaker to murder a young American woman. Homan said he was “sickened” and “stunned” by the verdict and questioned why city officials would knowingly release a criminal and risk public safety.
He blamed sanctuary cities for enticing illegal behavior by providing a haven for illegal aliens and endangering ICE agents and local communities. He also praised President Trump for “doing more for border security and public safety than any of the six presidents I’ve worked for,” citing the data showing that border crossings are at a 45-year low.
Homan called for Republicans to support President Trump’s goal of building a larger border wall, saying that wherever a wall was placed on an area of the border, illegal crossings decreased. Sadly, a wall did not stop Zarate from entering the United States, and Kate Steinle died from a gunshot wound on a San Francisco pier in 2015 as her father held her in arms and she said her devastating last words: “Help me, Daddy.”
Before Steinle was shot, officials in San Francisco released Zarate from custody instead of handing him over to federal immigration authorities. The incident set off a firestorm of immigration debate during the 2016 election cycle and helped propel Donald Trump to win the presidency as he took aim at the sanctuary city policies that allowed Zarate to avoid federal law enforcement.
Zarate’s defense argued that he discharged the weapon accidentally, yet the verdict yielded no conviction for involuntary manslaughter or assault with a deadly weapon. The San Francisco jurors, of whom three were immigrants, only convicted the five-times deported Mexican citizen of being a felon in possession of a firearm, which could bring a three-year sentence.
However, the Department of Justice issued an arrest warrant for Zarate after the verdict was announced and is considering bringing federal charges against him. Meanwhile, Homan declared in a statement that ICE would be deporting Zarate, saying: “This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had simply turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets. ... Following the conclusion of this case, ICE will work to take custody of Mr. Garcia Zarate and ultimately remove him from the country.”