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White House on Illegal Immigrant Murder Suspect in San Francisco: GOP Should Have Passed Immigration Reform

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"It is because of the political efforts of Republicans..."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, where he spoke about the shootings in Canada and answered questions about Ebola. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Asked about the illegal immigrant suspected of killing a woman in San Francisco, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the immigration reform bill that failed to pass Congress in 2013 provided border security.

“Those critics are individuals who opposed legislation that would have actually made a historic investment in border security,” Earnest said Monday. “If you take a simple look at the facts, the fact is, the president has done everything within his power to make sure we are focusing our law enforcement resources on criminals. It is because of the political efforts of Republicans that we haven’t made the investment we would like to make in securing our borders and keeping our communities safe.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks about the street protests in Hong Kong during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) AP Photo/Evan Vucci AP Photo/Evan Vucci

A reporter asked Earnest about how Francisco Sanchez, who had been deported from the United States five times, could have slipped through the cracks and returned to the United States to allegedly kill Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco last week.

In 2013, the then-Democratic Senate passed an immigration reform measure that would have established a pathway to citizenship for the some 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, while also enhancing border security. The Republican-controlled House never voted on the measure.

Earnest said he could not speak directly to the Steinle murder case and referred questions to the Department of Homeland Security.

“I can say as a general matter, as a part of the executive actions that the president announced back in November of last year, one of the main goals that we were seeking to accomplish was ensuring that we were focusing our law enforcement efforts on those individuals posing a genuine threat to public safety and national security,” Earnest said. “It’s those areas that should be prioritized.”

“The efforts would be significantly augmented had Republicans not blocked comprehensive immigration reform,” he said. “You’ll recall the piece of legislation that was blocked by Republicans in the House of Representatives actually included the biggest ever increase in border security. That’s why it is particularly disappointing that congressional inaction in what would have benefited the country and benefited the economy.”

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