Biden Border Chief Nominee Cautioned Local Officials Against Ending Sanctuary City Policies After Kate Steinle Murder

Jennie Taer

President Joe Biden’s pick to serve as commissioner of U.S. Customs And Border Protection (CBP) previously discouraged local officials in California from ending sanctuary city policies in the wake of Kate Steinle’s murder, according to emails obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Chris Magnus, who currently serves as the Tucson, Arizona, police chief, is set to appear before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday morning as he awaits a decision on his confirmation.

The hearing comes at a critical time for CBP as migrants continue to surge across the southern border.

In the emails, which were obtained via a records request by the Immigration Reform Law Institute, dated July 28, 2015, Magnus shared an op-ed published in the Sacramento Bee titled, “Keep clear, separate roles for local law enforcement and ICE.”

In the email, Magnus advised: “Former Richmond, San Jose, and San Diego Chief Bill Lansdowne makes strong points about the ongoing ‘Sanctuary City’ debate in this op-ed from the Sacramento Bee”

“The tragic killing of Kathryn Steinle by an undocumented immigrant in San Francisco has drawn national attention to the relationship between local police and immigration enforcement,” Lansdowne argued in the op-ed. “In my four decades in uniform and 20 years as police chief, I saw again and again politicians’ temptation to respond to a singular, heart-wrenching incident with sweeping policy change. In my experience, this always does more harm than good.”

Steinle was shot and killed in 2015 by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco. Jose Ines Garcia-Zarate, a convicted felon from Mexico, was deported five times before he killed Steinle. Zarate said he went to San Francisco because of its sanctuary policies.

This isn’t the first time Magnus’ previous defense of sanctuary cities have surfaced. In 2017, Magnus wrote an op-ed for The New York Times opposing then-President Donald Trump’s stance on the policy.

Magnus wrote that most law enforcement officials, regardless of whether they’re in a sanctuary city or not, cooperate with federal authorities to target “drug cartels, human traffickers, and transnational gangs.”

The White House didn’t immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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