A protester Monday reminded California’s new governor of the price of making California a sanctuary state.
Just as Gov. Gavin Newsom was preparing to take his oath of office in Sacramento, a protester called out, “I object!”
Although security intervened to remove the protester, he was able to shout out what made him angry enough to disrupt the event.
California’s sanctuary state policies — policies that protect illegal immigrants from deportation at the hands of federal authorities — have come under renewed scrutiny after the death of Newman, California, police Cpl. Ronil Singh, who was gunned down the day, His alleged killer is an illegal immigrant with a history of DUIs..
The protester called out, “Corporal Ronil Sing’s blood is on your hands” and “shame on you.”
Someone with press credentials shouts “I object” as Gavin Newsom is about to take the oath of office. He’s escorted out pic.twitter.com/e7bD3chNcU
— Anthony Zurcher (@awzurcher) January 7, 2019
The Fresno, California-based KSEE identified the protester as Ben Bergquam of Fresno, a conservative political activist who’s well known in the Fresno area.
Bergquam told the station why he spoke out before Newsom could take the oath of office.
“He’s already broken that oath,” he said. “It was a slap in the face to every American citizen, to Ronil Singh’s family in particular. Every American citizen that’s been victimized by the policies that he put into place. It was the absolutely appropriate time to call him out.”
Bergquam also livestreamed his protest on Facebook.
That time I got deported from Gavin Newsom’s swearing in!
It’s time for all Americans to stand against and prosecute criminal politicians like Gavin Newsom!
Rest In Peace Cpl Ronil Singh!
God bless President… https://t.co/TrEEAawa85
— Ben Bergquam (@BBergquam) January 8, 2019
“I think it’s absolute nonsense to say ‘oh well the sanctuary state law wasn’t in place.’ Gavin Newsom and the sanctuary city policy and the other sanctuary policies had been in place for decades. And they had neutered law enforcement’s ability to work with immigrations and customs enforcement. That is what got Corporal Ronil Singh killed,” Bergquam told KSEE.
The outburst had no obvious effect on Newsom, who in his inaugural remarks talked of offering “sanctuary to all who seek it,” according to KCBS.
He added that children should not be “ripped away from their parents” at the border, nor should they be hungry while money is spent on “a wall that should never be built.”
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, who helped shape the state’s defiance of President Donald Trump’s tough immigration policies, said there should be no connection between the state’s policies, codified in Senate Bill 54, and Singh’s death, according to KXTV.
“I think people now are looking to blame somebody because of the terrible things that happened, but it had nothing to do with the law of California,” Brown said.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson, who was involved in the manhunt for Singh’s killer, saw things differently. Police arrested Gustavo Perez Arriaga, a Mexican national, for the crime.
“This is a criminal illegal alien with prior criminal activity that should have been reported to ICE,” Christianson said when Arriaga was arrested, according to the Modesto Bee.
“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 about this criminal gang member.”
Christianson said telling it like it is should not be considered playing politics.
“The last thing in the world I want to do is politicize the death of officer Singh,” Christianson said, according to KPIX. “But let’s go back to Ron. An immigrant. Emigrated here lawfully and legally to pursue his American dream. He achieved that goal. And his dream was taken from him. No, we shouldn’t politicize it, but we have to have a conversation about restrictive legislation that puts our communities at risk.”