Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not able to deal with an illegal alien who allegedly killed a California police officer despite the alien having been arrested twice previously for driving under the influence, according to the agency.
Gustavo Arriaga, 32, was pulled over by Newman Police Department Cpl. Ronil Singh on Dec. 26 on suspicion of a third DUI.
But when Singh approached the vehicle, Arriaga gunned him down, police officials said.
Normally, when felony crimes are committed such as driving under the influence, local police and sheriffs alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which places a hold on the suspects.
When the cases are finished, the suspect is then deported.
California’s sanctuary law and other pro-illegal alien laws typically prevent normal law enforcement procedures such as alerting ICE when an alien is arrested for allegedly committing a crime if the crime is not serious.
Being in the country illegally is also a crime. It’s a misdemeanor upon first entry and a felony when re-entering after being deported.
“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.
Arriaga was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Chowchilla in 2014 before the sanctuary law was passed. It’s not clear whether authorities there were aware of Arriaga’s immigration status.
“As far as immigration status, I can tell you we do not ask those questions. We have no reason to,” Chowchilla Police Chief David Riviere told the Chronicle. “He was stopped for a traffic violation and found to be DUI.”
A spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown told The Associated Press that police could have informed federal authorities if the suspect was a known gang member.
In addition to Arriaga, seven other illegal aliens were arrested, including his brother and girlfriend, for trying to deceive police officers to give Arriaga time to flee to Mexico after the alleged murder. Immigration holds were placed on at least six of them and Arriaga.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson also addressed the contentious immigration issues surrounding the case, noting that crime by illegal aliens often rubs people especially raw since they’re not supposed to be in the United States.
“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 Friday press conference, noting the two prior driving-under-the-influence arrests and how the suspect has 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.”
President Donald Trump also noted that the suspected murderer was in the country illegally.
“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,” he stated on Twitter on Thursday. “Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!”