SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The shooting death of a California police officer has reignited the debate over sanctuary laws, with a sheriff all but blaming the statewide immigration policy for the killing as he announced the arrest of a man living in the US illegally.
A two-day statewide manhunt ended Friday with the arrest of Gustavo Perez Arriaga, who came out with his hands up as a SWAT team prepared to raid a home in Bakersfield, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of where Cpl. Ronil Singh was shot in the small town of Newman before dawn Wednesday.
Perez Arriaga was captured while planning to flee to his native Mexico, authorities said.
Sheriff Adam Christianson, who led the investigation, blamed California’s sanctuary law for preventing local authorities from reporting Perez Arriaga to US immigration officials for deportation after two previous drunken driving arrests.
“We can’t ignore the fact that this could have been preventable,” Christianson told reporters, asking why the state was “providing sanctuary for criminals (and) gang members. It’s a conversation we need to have.”
The laws are a flashpoint between jurisdictions that say they allow immigrant communities to report crimes without fear of deportation and the Trump administration, which has vowed to crack down on such cities and states.
President Donald Trump tweeted about Singh’s killing Thursday by saying it was “time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!”
The immigration fight has intensified as Trump pushes for funding for a border wall that congressional Democrats oppose, forcing a partial government shutdown.
Perez Arriaga crossed the border in Arizona several years ago and had worked a variety of jobs as a laborer, including at several dairies. The 33-year-old had gang affiliations and multiple Facebook pages with different names, Christianson said.
An email to a sheriff’s spokesman asking whether Perez Arriaga had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf wasn’t returned and a phone call rang to a voicemail that was full.
By Associated Press for BUSINESS INSIDER
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