Shooting of officer starkly defines an unnecessary crisis

The problem does not get any more starkly defined than this.

Newman, Calif., police officer Ronil Singh, a legal immigrant, was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant the day after Christmas during a traffic stop for alleged drunken driving.

The suspect, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, had a track record that included previous drunk driving convictions and deportations, gang affiliations and multiple arrest warrants.

But California’s sanctuary law limits cooperation between local authorities and U.S. immigration officials. It includes more than 800 exceptions for violent crimes and felonies and bars police from asking people about their citizenship status.

Naturally, the California lawmaker who wrote the sanctuary law and Gov. Jerry Brown laid the blame in places other than the sanctuary city situation. If he had been a known gang member, Arriaga would have been in custody already, they reasoned.

And if police were informed of Arriaga’s multiple transgressions, the traffic stop would have been handled much more differently and an officer would be alive today with his wife and child.

And if California was not such an obvious safe place for people here illegally, Arriaga might not have come to this country in the first place.

And if the country’s border security was not so slipshod, he likely would not have been able to get to this country.

Yet we have lawmakers on holiday recess, shutting down an $18 trillion operation over a request for $5 billion worth of border protection, not to stop legal immigration, but to separate it from illegal entry. Many of them can be seen on video for anyone that cares previously backing just such an idea.

This country of compassion that annually leads the world in legal immigration needs to separate those worthy people from people coming here for other reasons. A physical, impassable barrier would not solve the entire problem, but it would bring much-needed order to the chaos on the border.

From there, lawmakers have to push for more personnel to process people with legal asylum claims and others seeking to embark on the immigration process. These deserve a quicker system. Families deserve to not be separated. They deserve to not risk medical peril and danger coming here. Children born here to illegals deserve a better life.

But it all starts with stopping the daily chaos on the border and ending the sanctuary city status that creates the only system we know of in which law enforcement, border personnel and immigration officials are disallowed dialogue.

How many innocent people have to die before lawmakers put politics aside and solve the problems?