President Donald Trump invoked the last words of Kate Steinle in his weekly address on Saturday, condemning sanctuary cities and calling for an immigration policy focused on "the safety and well-being of our nation's citizens."
Steinle, 32, was shot and killed in San Francisco in July of 2015 by Jose Zarate, a convicted felon who had been deported five times prior to the murder. The case ignited a national debate about so-called "sanctuary cities," which refuse to enforce federal immigration laws in their boundaries.
San Francisco is one such city, and critics contend that had the city worked with federal immigration authorities, Zarate would not have been in the country, thus preventing Steinle's death.
"In Sanctuary States and Cities, innocent Americans are at the mercy of criminal aliens because state and local officials defy federal authorities and obstruct the enforcement of our immigration laws," Trump said. "No American should be separated from their loved ones because of preventable crime committed by those illegally in our country. Our cities should be Sanctuaries for Americans—not for criminal aliens."
Further outrage came on the first of December, when a jury returned a not guilty verdict in the matter of murder and involuntary manslaughter charges faced by Zarate in the matter of Steinle's death. Zarate was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.
"Last week, in a final injustice, Kate's killer was acquitted on all of the most serious charges—yet one more reason Americans are so upset by Sanctuary Cities and open border politicians who shield criminal aliens from federal law enforcement and all of the problems involved with the whole concept of a sanctuary city. They're no good," Trump said.
Following the not guilty verdict, Zarate was further charged by the federal government with one count of a felon in possession of firearm and one count of an immigrant in possession of a firearm. Federal immigration officials have also said they intend to attempt to deport Zarate.
Trump had previously attacked the Steinle verdict on Twitter, calling it "disgraceful," and noting that it was "no wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration."
On Saturday, though, he also turned his ire on congressional Democrats, slamming them for suggesting they may shut down the government if a congressional fix for DACA recipients—the Obama-era immigration program which grants temporary reprieve from immigration enforcement for illegal immigrants who entered the country as children—is not found.
"Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress not only oppose our efforts to stop illegal immigration and crack down on Sanctuary Cities—now they are demanding amnesty as a condition for funding the government, holding troop funding hostage and putting our national security at risk," Trump said. "We cannot allow it."
"People can have different views on the technical details of budget policy or transportation, but no one who serves in elected office should disagree that our highest priority must be the safety and well-being of our nation's citizens," he concluded.
Trump's full address was posted to YouTube by the White House.