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Indian-origin California police officer’s killing fuels immigration debate, Trump’s wall pitch

California police have identified the suspect as man who is “in our country illegally” and circulated his pictures on social media seeking people’s help in apprehending him. He had allegedly shot and killed Ronil Singh Wednesday morning during a traffic check

world Updated: Dec 28, 2018 21:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
Indian-origin California police officer,shot dead,US illegal immigration
A sign is displayed on a government building that is closed because of a US government shutdown in Washington, DC (AFP File Photo)(AFP)

With the partial US government shutdown likely to carry over into the New Year just days away now, President Donald Trump is seeking to garner support for the border wall, which caused it, citing the killing of the Indian origin police officer in California allegedly by an illegal immigrant.

California police have identified the suspect as man who is “in our country illegally” and circulated his pictures on social media seeking people’s help in apprehending him. He had allegedly shot and killed Ronil Singh Wednesday morning during a traffic check as he was driving a vehicle without a license plate.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson told reporters Thursday, “This suspect — unlike Ron, who immigrated to this county lawfully and legally to pursue his lifelong career of public safety, public service and being a police officer.”

“This suspect is in our country illegally,” the sheriff added. “He doesn’t belong here. He’s a criminal.”

Singh came to the United States from Fiji and his family still lives there, and are reportedly on their way after hearing of the tragedy. He leaves behind his wife and a six-month-old son.

The suspect has been described as a heavy-set Hispanic man.

Trump tweeted shorty after the police announcement: “There is right now a full scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a traffic stop,” he wrote on Twitter Thursday after the suspect was identified by the police.

“Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!” he added.

That post came amidst a stream of tweets in which the president sought to blame Democrats for the wall, accusing them of “OBSTRUCTION”, of wanting a free and open border. The tirade has continued in Friday, with the president now threatening to shut down the border altogether. Trump also repeated his threat to aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador if they don’t prevent their nationals from entering the US illegally.

The partial federal government shutdown entered the seventh day Friday with no sign of the resumption of negotiations.Republican leaders of both chambers of the US Congress have said they do not have vote on their schedule indicating there is no agreement on wall funding yet.

President Trump started out by seeking $5 billion for the wall, but has offered to settle for less — though no amount has been specified, it is reported to be around $2 billion. Democrats have ruled out allowing any funding for a wall, and had agreed to allow $1.3 billion for enhanced border security.

The stalemate shut a fourth of the federal government last weekend impacting 800,000 employees, mostly with the departments of state, homeland security, treasury, and agriculture.

The president’s chances of getting the funding would dim considerably when the new Congress goes into session January 3, with Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives. And funding, or budget bill, must be passed by both chambers and that puts Trump’s wall in serious jeopardy.

First Published: Dec 28, 2018 21:27 IST