The barrage of outraged tweets from GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump decrying the shocking San Francisco slaying of 32-year old Kathryn Steinle signals the start of what may be an intense immigration debate with potential fallout in California, home to the nation's largest undocumented population, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Social media blazed with anger and frustration at the news that the man arrested in connection with the shooting death at San Francisco's Pier 14 Wednesday has a rap sheet with seven felonies, was in the U.S. illegally and has been deported to his native Mexico five times — and in April was released from San Francisco Jail despite immigration authorities asking that he be kept in custody.

Particularly galling, many said, was that the release of Francisco Sanchez, 45, followed San Francisco Sheriff's Department policies ordering the department not to comply with requested immigration holds based solely on allegations that a person is in the country illegally.

The sharp reaction dramatized how, in the run-up to the 2016 election, issues relating to criminal justice and immigration could become prominent at the national level and possibly fuel congressional calls to cut funding to San Francisco and other "sanctuary cities."

At the state and local levels, political figures who have been associated with efforts to advocate for immigrants in the law enforcement arena may also face heat.