Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old woman, was killed July 1, 2015 in San Francisco by an illegal alien who had seven felony convictions and had been deported five times, a tragic result of San Francisco’s “sanctuary policy.” Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the alleged murderer, said he came to San Francisco “in part because of the liberal laws that made it easier for immigrants without documents to fly under the radar,” according to the Los Angeles Times. (Please note the bias of the Los Angeles Times as they refer to illegal aliens as “immigrants without documents.” I use the term “illegal alien” because that is the terminology that appears throughout the U.S. immigration code, and it reflects the serious nature of entering this country illegally.)

Even though I have been following this issue on a daily basis for 13 years, I was stunned to read there were 276 jurisdictions around the country with state and local sanctuary policies that resulted in the release of more than 8,000 criminal alien offenders sought by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation over an eight-month period, according to ICE records obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Also note these are “criminal” illegal aliens, not just those who have entered the country illegally.

In 2013, ICE released 36,007 convicted criminal aliens from its custody, including those convicted of homicide, sexual assault and kidnapping, according to the testimony of Jessica Vaughan to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

Sanctuaries were made illegal under the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, section 642, and yet they have flourished unchecked for 19 years. Nineteen years!

The Center for Immigration Studies, at cis.org, has published a map of the “sanctuary cities.”

Portland, Maine is not on the map, but an ordinance passed in 2004 — Resolve 8-03/04, 3/15/04 — would qualify it as a “sanctuary city” based on a definition formulated by Dan Cadman of the Center for Immigration Studies:

“If we were to try and come up with a definition of sanctuary with that broader concept in mind, it might be this: any law, ordinance, rule, regulation, policy or operating procedure that by intent or by effect inhibits, impedes or obstructs federal immigration officials from performing their duties,” he said during a panel discussion last month.

Congress, as it does in so many cases, mandates something without, among things, supplying the funding for implementation. One example is the 2005 Secure Fence Act, which mandated the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing — fewer than 40 miles have been built.

The same is true with ICE “detainers.” These are requests made by ICE of local law enforcement to hold illegal aliens until ICE can come and take custody of them; they are “requests,” which are not legally enforceable.

This time the U.S. House of Representatives responded by passing the “Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act,” bill number HR3009, a measure that would deny some federal funds and Department of Justice grant money to “sanctuary cities.” It has been sent to the U.S Senate and referred to the Judiciary Committee, which has tabled the bill until Congress returns from their month long recess.

And how did Maine’s two representatives vote on this bill?

As expected, Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, voted for it, and Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, voted against it on a largely party-line, 241-to-179 vote.

Consider this: If someone votes against a measure that would deny funding to entities (“sanctuary cities”) whose policies (“refusal to honor ICE detainers”) result in the killing of innocent Americans, are they not in some respect responsible for the deaths of those innocent Americans?

Bob Casimiro of Bridgton is former executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform.