Barletta cites shootings in argument against amnesty

By Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa.

July 07–Congressman Lou Barletta cited a 2006 shooting involving an in his hometown of Hazleton when railing on proponents of amnesty after a man who was deported five times shot and killed a 32-year-old woman on a pier in San Francisco last week.

Barletta referenced the death of Derek Kichline, who the congressman said was shot and killed in his own driveway inHazleton in 2006 by an , and an incident last Wednesday involving Kate Steinle, who was allegedly shot and killed by an on a pier in the “sanctuary city” of San Francisco, when criticizing efforts to secure America’s borders.

Kichline’s death prompted the congressman to work with council members in Hazleton and introduce ordinances that target landlords and employers who do business with .

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, police have charged Francisco Sanchez — a Mexican national and seven-time felon who has been deported five times — with killing Steinle.

“My heart breaks for the family and friends of Kate Steinle, as they have seen a promising young life ended too soon, and the suspect is a criminal who should never have been in this country in the first place,” Barletta said Monday in a news release. “That her accused killer is a seven-time felon, was deported five times and was prevented from being deported a sixth by San Francisco policies, is as maddening as it is inexplicable. These so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ are safe havens for everyone but law-abiding citizens.”

Barletta said the tragedy in San Francisco reminds him of Kichline’s death in 2006 in Hazleton.

“His accused assailant had been arrested more than half a dozen times, but was still in the country,” Barletta said. “His death was the last straw for me, and the reason I became fully engaged in combating .”

Murder charges against Dominican nationals Joan Romero and Pedro Cabrera were dismissed in the Hazleton case, with the details never proven in court.

Across the country, federal and had previously requested an detainer on Sanchez, but he was released because San Francisco is a “sanctuary city” that does not honor such requests, Barletta said.

“Proponents of amnesty for continuously use images of children as arguments for forgiving unlawful behavior, but where is the outrage when an innocent life is taken by someone who should not have been present in this country?” the congressman said. “If we were serious about securing our borders and protecting American citizens, perhaps Kate Steinle and Derek Kichline would still be alive today.”

In July 2006, Barletta made a similar argument before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing on reform.

“If others had done their jobs by keeping this murderous thug and his cohorts out of the country, out of Hazleton, Derek Kichline may still be alive today,” Barletta said at the time.

Civil rights groups challenged Hazleton’s never-enforced ordinances, which were ruled unconstitutional after a trial in Scranton in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear further appeals.

Mayor Joseph Yannuzzi, who served with a previous council line-up that approved Hazleton’s ordinances, said the city might have to double its property tax rate and enter a state program for financially distressed municipalities if it was directed to make a lump-sum payment of $2.8 million in legal fees sought by plaintiffs who challenged Hazleton’sordinances.


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