Senate Republicans Request California Attorney General to Review "Sanctuary State" Law

Thursday, February 21, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel); Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee; and Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), Vice Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, delivered a letter to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra last week requesting that he determine whether or not local and state law enforcement agencies were prohibited from communicating with federal immigration officers regarding the shooting of Newman Police Officer Ronil Singh because of Senate Bill 54 (2017) and how to uniformly enforce the law.

On December 26th, Officer Singh was killed in the line of duty after an early morning traffic stop. Two days after the shooting, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, a suspected criminal street gang member and an undocumented immigrant, was arrested and charged with his death. The law enforcement agency that arrested the suspected cop killer asserted that SB 54 prevented law enforcement agencies from sharing information about criminals like Arriaga to federal authorities.

The letter includes several statements made by former Governor Jerry Brown and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León who appear to believe state or local law enforcement agencies could have shared information with ICE about Officer Singh’s alleged killer. As the state’s chief legal officer charged with ensuring laws of the state are uniformly enforced, California Senate Republicans respectfully request that Attorney General Becerra provide answers to the following questions:

  • Are state and local law enforcement agencies permitted under SB 54 to notify ICE and detain an undocumented person who has been convicted of DUI?

  • Are state and local law enforcement agencies permitted under SB 54 to report an undocumented immigrant to federal agencies, including ICE, if warrants have been issued for that individual for failure to appear in a DUI arraignment?

  • May state and local law enforcement agencies notify federal agencies about an illegal immigrant who publicly claims to be a member of a criminal street gang known to law enforcement?

  • Even if permitted under state law, can city or county laws prohibit law enforcement agencies from providing ICE with information about an individual’s immigration status when the illegal immigrant has outstanding warrants or a criminal conviction?

  • May a state or local law enforcement agency that is engaged in a multi-agency gang task force inform a participating federal agency about the immigration status of a gang member identified through task force operations?

  • May state and local law enforcement agencies report to federal agencies, including ICE, any undocumented person who harbors or aids another undocumented person evade arrest or escape to a different jurisdiction, as occurred in Arriaga’s flight from the crime scene?

Read the full letter here (pdf).


Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) represents the 36th Senate District in the California Legislature, which covers South Orange County, North San Diego County, and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Elected to the State Senate in January 2013, Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at Follow him @CASenatorJim.

State Senator John Moorlach represents the 37th district of California, is a trained Certified Financial Planner and is the only trained CPA in the California Senate. He gained national attention 23 years ago when he was appointed Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector and helped the County recover from its bankruptcy filing – at the time the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Follow him on Facebook & Twitter.