After the death of Cpl. Ronil Singh at the hands of an illegal immigrant the day after Christmas, the controversy over Senate Bill 54—California’s sanctuary state law—has again been ignited.
Supporters of a group called New California gathered on Jan. 1 in Newman, California, to protest the state’s sanctuary law. New California is a movement to break away from the current state of California and form the 51st state.
“I really believe that SB 54 sanctuary state status has been one of the reasons why we have lost so many of our own American citizens,” said Paul Preston, president of New California.
Gustavo Arriaga, 32, was pulled over by Newman Police Department Cpl. Singh on Dec. 26 on suspicion of DUI. But when Singh approached the vehicle, Arriaga shot him, police officials said.
PATRIOTS PLEASE JOIN US ! https://t.co/Jr0hU0E7Nm
— Dane Senser (@DaneSenser) January 2, 2019
Arriaga was eventually arrested in Kern County after a three-day manhunt.
“There is right now a full-scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a traffic stop,” President Trump stated on Twitter at the time. “Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!”
Seven other illegal aliens were also arrested, including his brother and girlfriend, for allegedly helping Arriaga try to flee to Mexico after the officer’s death.
“Will we see another Officer Singh shooting? Yes, I think that’s pretty much guaranteed we’ll see something like this again and we’ll see more angel parents until we stop this nonsense. And New California will stop it,” said Preston.
SB 54 prohibits state and local law enforcement from working with federal immigration officials or using resources for immigration enforcement purposes, such as notifying federal officials of detained individuals who may be eligible for deportation, except under certain circumstances.
Supporters of the sanctuary law say it was designed to foster trust between undocumented immigrants and local law enforcement. However, opponents say the law puts people in danger.
“We remain deeply concerned that California’s sanctuary laws continue to undermine public safety and cause preventable crimes by restricting law enforcement cooperation and allowing public safety threats back into the community to re-offend,” ICE spokeswoman Liz Johnson said in a statement obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson also addressed the contentious immigration issues surrounding the death of Cpl. Singh, saying that crime by illegal aliens often rubs people especially raw since they’re not supposed to be in the United States.
The entire #NYPD is thinking of the family, friends and colleagues of Corporal Ronil Singh, 33, of the Newman Police Department (CA), who was murdered early this morning while conducting a traffic stop — just hours after taking Christmas photos with his wife and son. #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/iNCNMvhPlI
— Commissioner O'Neill (@NYPDONeill) December 26, 2018
“If he wasn’t here then he wouldn’t have been driving drunk and it wouldn’t have been reported to officer Singh and the … enforcement stop potentially never would have occurred,” he said at a press conference on Dec. 28.
Sheriff Christianson said Arriaga had two prior driving-under-the-influence arrests and ties to the Sureño Street Gang.
“Why are we providing sanctuary for criminals, gang members?” Christianson added. “It’s a conversation we need to have.”
New California said if their group succeeds in forming a new state, their local law enforcement agencies would fully cooperate with immigration officials.
Fox contributed to this report.
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