Group Decries ‘Sanctuary State’ Law after Newman Officer’s Death

NEWMAN -- A group of people from the New California movement gathered in Newman Tuesday to rally against Senate Bill 54.

New California calls itself the 51st state and it’s joining the growing list of people and organizations criticizing California's "sanctuary state" law.

"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, the president of New California.

The rising backlash against SB 54 comes after a man living in the country illegally was accused of fatally shooting Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh the day after Christmas during a traffic stop.

Suspected gunman Gustavo Perez Arriaga was arrested last week in Kern County after an intense manhunt.

"If two people who came to this country, one did it right. One went through the process, one even became a law enforcement officer," said New California supporter Jeff Crow. "The other one did not follow the process, came illegally, became a criminal and then kills the immigrant that was legal. And then you have SB 54, the sanctuary state law, which did not allow the police from before to detain him and then send him back to his home country after serving time."

SB 54 limits cooperation between local law enforcement agencies and federal immigration authorities.

Supporters of SB 54 say the law was designed to foster trust between people living in the state illegally and law enforcement. Opponents say the law only puts people in danger.

The group says if New California were to become a state they would fully cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and would make sure their law enforcement agencies would too.

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