California Sheriff on the State’s Sanctuary Policy: ‘It’s Dangerous and Irresponsible’

Seven illegal immigrants who 'aided and abetted' an accused cop killer are all now in police custody after a two-day manhunt

After police took accused cop killer Gustavo Perez Arriaga into custody near Bakersfield, California, on Friday, the sheriff whose agency led the investigation made some headlines of his own — by placing the blame squarely on the state’s sanctuary law known as SB-54.

“This is a very painful experience not only for the family, but for the community of Newman and the Newman Police Department,” said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Friday night.

He added that the small police department in Newman had never suffered a line-of-duty death until Officer Singh’s — and noted that he could not honor any detainers nor communicate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about the custody status of the seven individuals, all of whom he said are here illegally.

Police Cpl. Ronil Singh, a 33-year-old legal immigrant and father of a five-month-old, was shot and killed on Wednesday in Newman in the course of pulling over a suspected drunk driver — who turned out to be illegal immigrant Gustavo Perez Arriaga.

Christianson praised his colleague, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, who immediately offered resources after Arriaga was tracked to a location in Youngblood’s jurisdiction.

Christianson also said, “We were never more than a step behind this guy,” referencing the two-day manhunt for Arriaga.

Do you support individual military members being able to opt out of getting the COVID vaccine?

By completing the poll, you agree to receive emails from LifeZette, occasional offers from our partners and that you've read and agree to our privacy policy and legal statement.

Authorities said Arriaga will be charged with homicide in the death of Singh, a seven-year veteran of the Newman force, as Fox News reported.

Late on Friday, authorities announced the arrests of Arriaga’s girlfriend, Ana Leyde Cervantes, 30, of Newman, and Arriaga’s brother, Conrado Virgen Mendoza, 34, of Chowchilla, the outlet also noted.

They’ve been jailed for “aiding and abetting this criminal fugitive.” But the state’s laws prevent him from communicating with ICE about the arrests unless the crimes they’ve committed reach a certain threshold involving violence.

Neither intoxicated driving, for which Arriaga had been twice arrested previously, nor being in the country illegally meet that threshold.

Christianson noted the danger and irresponsibility — “plain and simple” — of sanctuary policies such as those promoted by current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“I hope the death of Officer Singh, who was needlessly and tragically gunned down, that his death is not in vain,” Christianson added, noting his hope that a conversation about “policies that restrict law enforcement’s ability … to effectively protect our communities” can take place.

“We just don’t have the funding for it,” argued immigration attorney Allen Orr, who also appeared on Friday’s “The Ingraham Angle.”

Orr was speaking of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

He insisted the biggest threat to Americans was from visa overstays rather than people crossing the border illegally.

“We have a long list of angel moms that have been affected by these illegal aliens that have committed murders and a lot of other serious crimes,” said Hector Garza, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, on Friday night’s program. “We need to just secure the border and we need to make sure that our congressmen and congresswomen do their job and fund that wall.”

“Without that border wall, it’s going to be impossible for us to keep our communities safe,” said Garza, who explained that many illegal aliens return after they have been deported.

“It’s not about politics. This is about the safety of the America people,” Garza added, pointing out the problems that both human trafficking and drug smuggling presents for our citizens.

During a press conference earlier on Friday to announce Arriaga’s capture, Sheriff Christianson noted that “we can’t ignore the fact that this could have been preventable.”

“And under SB-54 in California, based on two arrests for DUI and some other active warrants that this criminal has out there, law enforcement would have been prevented, prohibited, from sharing any information with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] about this criminal gang member,” he added.

“Ladies and gentleman,” he said to those assembled, “this is not how you protect a community.”

Singh’s younger brother, Reggie Singh, broke down during the press conference. He thanked the officers and the agencies that came together to locate and apprehend his brother’s suspected killer.

Arriaga was attempting to flee back to Mexico, as many outlets reported.

In a series of tweets on Friday, President Trump said he would “be forced to seal the southern border entirely if Democrats continue to refuse to fund the wall and to enact other sensible immigration reform.”

“Either we build (finish) the wall or we close the border,” he said in one of the tweets.

The president added he would be cutting off aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador — countries that he said are “doing nothing for the United States but taking our money.”

He also added that despite the formation of a new caravan in Honduras, “they are doing nothing about it.”

Also on Friday, as the partial government shutdown entered its second week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visited the southern border city of El Paso, Texas.

Her visit followed the death of a second child, a Guatemalan national, who died in DHS custody on Christmas Eve.

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

Join the Discussion

COMMENTS POLICY: We have no tolerance for messages of violence, racism, vulgarity, obscenity or other such discourteous behavior. Thank you for contributing to a respectful and useful online dialogue.