Two years ago, Donald Trump chose to demagogue a tragic death into political hay. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who had entered the country illegally five times, had killed Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old American.
Trump seized on the incident, using it to champion a law, which he dubbed “Kate’s Law,” that would sentence all second-time illegal border crossers to a minimum prison term of five years.
When I learned of this, I wrote about the absurdity of the proposed law in The Mystifying Math of Kate’s Law and Kate’s Law Sinking?. We would be criminalizing an act that is wrong only because we define it to be — crossing the border twice without proper documents — based on some imaginary correlation between that act and violent crimes. And all based on the actions of one — that’s right, one — undocumented immigrant.
When I read about this two years ago, I assumed that the actual case against Zarate was airtight and that his taking of Steinle’s life was an especially heinous act.
Bad assumption on my part. Continue reading