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Archbishop urges leaders not to scapegoat over Kathryn Steinle’s death

Salvatore Cordileone, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco, urged political leaders not to use the death of Kathryn Steinle to score political points.

Salvatore Cordileone, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco, urged political leaders not to use the death of Kathryn Steinle to score political points.

(Jeff Chiu / AP)

After a young woman was shot dead along the San Francisco waterfront, igniting a heated debate because of the suspect’s multiple deportations, the city’s Roman Catholic archbishop pleaded with elected officials to avoid invoking the “senseless” slaying to score “political gain.”

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said Monday that the death of Kathryn Steinle should not be used as a justification to malign immigrants in the United States and urged local and federal officials not to “punish all immigrants for the transgressions of a small minority.”

Steinle, 32, was walking with her father on July 1 when police say she was shot by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a man who has seven felony convictions and had been deported five times. Lopez-Sanchez’s alleged role in her death has set off a fierce debate over the enforcement of immigration policies and the lack of cooperation among local, state and federal agencies.

In Cordileone’s statement, issued one day before Steinle’s father is scheduled to speak on immigration enforcement policies to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, the Roman Catholic leader said the “flawed immigration system” has divided families and diminished human dignity.

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“While it is important that we learn from this incident and work to prevent it from happening again, it is also important that we recognize that the vast majority of immigrants — both those with and without papers — are not a violent threat to society and so should not be subject to guilt by association,” Cordileone said before calling for an overhaul of the immigration system.

“Such reform, long overdue, should preserve family unity, ensure the due process of law, protect those fleeing persecution, and ensure the integrity of our nation’s borders,” he said.

The archbishop highlighted the relative safety of immigrant communities and backed the City of San Francisco’s supervision of immigrant detainees. But Cordileone also called on federal and local agencies to better collaborate to identify “those who represent a violent threat to our communities.”

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee also is scheduled to hold a hearing on immigration policies.

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Steinle’s parents told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly last week that they support a proposed law that would imprison those who return to the U.S. illegally after being deported.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.


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