The recent shooting death of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco is a tragedy. The United States must do everything in its power to avoid tragedies like this in the future. Given that the suspect was undocumented, some public figures have used this instance to ignite a debate about the U.S. immigration system. Policymakers should look at what more can be done to ensure better communication between federal and local authorities. But the furor surrounding this controversy has been sorely lacking in actual facts regarding both local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement and the role of trust in effective local law enforcement.
The real legislative solution to the nation’s immigration challenges is for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. By having individuals with longstanding ties to the community come forward, register with the government, and begin on a pathway to citizenship, the pool of people on which the government does not have information would shrink, allowing the DHS to focus its resources on going after serious violent criminals.
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