LOS ANGELES, July 11, 2015 — Billionaire businessman and presidential candidate Donald Trump would be just a speed bump on the road to 2016 if not for the brutal murder in San Francisco of Kathryn Steinle at the hands of illegal immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez. Steinle, a medical device salesperson, was walking with her father on Pier 14 on the Embarcadero when she was fatally shot in the chest.
In a jailhouse interview, Lopez-Sanchez admitted to killing Steinle with a gun he said he found wrapped in a T-shirt on the street. But at his arraignment hearing, he pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the .40 caliber handgun used in the slaying belonged to a federal agent. According to federal authorities, Lopez-Sanchez has been deported from the U.S. five times, most recently in 2009, and he has a long list of felony convictions.
The plot will continue to thicken as the case goes to trial. Coupled with Trump’s blunt and inflammatory comments about illegal immigrants, Steinle’s murder is the first case in many years that has captured national press attention, and may continue to drive the immigration discussion around the 2016 presidential race.
FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform), ALIPAC (Americans for Legal Immigration PAC), and other groups have documented thousands of cases of American citizens who have lost their lives at the hands of illegal immigrants. These cases are given scant attention by the press or, more importantly, by the politicians and the federal bureaucrats who are supposed to enforce standing immigration laws. It is because of the inconsistent or total lack of enforcement of these laws that men like Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez continue to enter and re-enter this country and commit crimes.
Washington insiders and the presidential candidates are focused on Iowa and New Hampshire, where past presidential frontrunners have been made. A consummate outsider, Trump decided to come to Los Angeles to meet members of five families who have been victims of crimes perpetrated by illegals. Unlike Hillary, Trump invited the cameras to a press conference held at the same time, and continued to double down on his statements about illegal immigration, sanctuary city policies, and the role of Mexico in encouraging criminal illegality in America.
Trump is holding a sold-out rally in Phoenix, another hot-bed city over illegal immigration, and Jamiel Shaw, Sr. will introduce him. Shaw is the father of Jamiel Shaw, Jr., a Los Angeles high-school athlete who was murdered in 2008 by illegal immigrant gang member Pedro Espinoza.
Six years later, Shaw Jr.’s murder is getting national attention as his father has made appearances on CNN and other networks in support of Donald Trump’s comments and his candidacy. Shaw, Sr. feels that Trump is “speaking for the dead. He’s speaking for my son,” he said. “He’s speaking for the people who can’t speak for themselves that demand that somebody do something.”
Shaw, Jr. was a running back at Los Angeles High School and had been named the Southern League’s most valuable player. He reportedly drew interest from Stanford and Rutgers universities, and had he lived, he might be well on his way to a professional football career.
Prison authorities documented Espinoza as a gang enforcer in jail, and a violent character. Local news reports say he was the aggressor in eight violent incidents while he was incarcerated. Despite this history, he was released onto the streets of Los Angeles. Just 28-hours later, Shaw was walking home from school when Espinoza jumped out of a vehicle, shot him in the stomach, then fired a second shot execution-style into his head.
Los Angeles public officials and the Shaw family lobbied unsuccessfully to pass Jamiel’s Law, to target gang members living illegally in the city of Los Angeles. Many deny that Los Angeles is a sanctuary city, but like San Francisco, it continues to rank on lists of safe havens for illegals. In 2010, the Los Angeles city council voted to boycott Arizona when then-governor Jan Brewer attempted to enact measures to enforce federal immigration laws that the federal government was ignoring. So while Los Angeles may not tout itself as a sanctuary city, its passivity and political leanings since the Jamiel Shaw, Jr. murder clearly indicate otherwise.
In 2012, Espinoza was sentenced to death for that murder; so he will appeal and live on the U.S. taxpayer dime for many years to come. This is small comfort to the Shaw family or for the thousands of Americans who have lost loved ones at the hands of people who should not have been in the country in the first place.
Some are looking to the next United States president to right these wrongs, and Donald Trump is doing his best to position himself as the lead candidate for the job.
President Obama has done little to address the illegal immigration problem. He has used his executive powers to thwart and destroy any state that makes efforts to do so. With his current executive order and the Department of Homeland Security’s push for “dreamers” nationwide, there is scant desire to enforce current laws, let alone enact new ones.
At least Obama is consistent in his lack of pretense. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all made promises about sealing the border and made half-baked legislative efforts to manage the influx of illegal immigrants into the United States.
With these lackluster efforts by sitting presidents, it is doubtful that anything will be done on the national level until a unified outcry comes from the states. If Trump does nothing else beyond being a candidate, perhaps he can keep the spotlight shining on this problem.
The Remembrance Project and Stolen Lives Quilt is also working to do good in spotlighting the plight of Americans and legal residents who have been killed by illegal aliens. Their activists are making themselves visible through radio and television, and by inserting themselves into the 2016 presidential race.
Last October, the project went to Iowa to have their message heard, and they are supporting Trump’s Saturday rally in Phoenix. Despite the soft-peddle and avoidance by other presidential contenders, illegal immigration could be the pivotal issue that will decide voters in 2016.
If the Steinles, the Shaws, and the other families who make up the Stolen Lives project are any indication of how everyday Americans feel about the issue, this groundswell of support for a candidate who stands against illegal immigration could become a tsunami.
So candidates, don’t hate—emulate.