What comes next, now that the news cameras have left town and life begins to return to some sort of new normal after a horrible evil rocked the West Side communities?

From the small, personal touches to larger action… there are many ways to channel the feelings of helplessness and frustration that so many now experience.

Whether petitioning the government on Main Street or Pennsylvania Avenue, or sharing a smile and friendly word with your neighbor or a first responder, all actions big and small can make a difference.

By all means, calling local representatives at every level of government is a good first step. Reminding these officials of what Corporal Singh meant to our police department and community, weekly if necessary, will let them know that you will not forget the very real costs of California’s sanctuary status.

If you want to do more than make a phone call, you could organize local residents to petition the city and county governments to join lawsuits filed against the state’s sanctuary designation. Fourteen municipalities and two counties have passed or are considering ordinances directing local law enforcement officials to work with federal immigration officials.

But the action must start with you. It starts by getting up to speak during the public comments of City Council and county Board of Supervisors meetings. It starts by residents demanding action from their leaders. In today’s social media world, connecting with others who share your views is as easy as logging in. But it requires more than sharing a post and leaving a comment.

It requires action and attention. In the real world.

Maybe it means donning a yellow vest… or an orange camo one, as you go about your day’s errands. A daily statement of protest.

Maybe it means showing up to every court date, peacefully making a statement of support to the Singh family and law enforcement.

Maybe it means supporting one of the many organizations which stepped in during the last week to help comfort Newman, or ones which support the law enforcement officers who attend the funerals of their fallen brethren. It could even mean raising money for national organizations that directly help the families left behind.

But most all of it involves engaging neighbors and friends. It means being present in our neighborhoods. It means being accountable to each other.

It isn’t just about being angry, although there is a time and place for that too.

It is about having compassion as well. For our neighbors and our police departments....the men and women who protect our communities. For the first responders who give support to so many at the worst times of their lives.

Take the remembrance of the good that Corporal Singh spread throughout Newman and pay it forward, the best way you can.

---

To be sure, protest will be the only way that an opposing voice will be heard with the incoming California state government. New Governor Gavin Newsom wasted no time after his inauguration Monday, announcing that California would continue to be a sanctuary for all.

His proposed budget, released later in the day, calls for coverage illegal young adults on Medicaid through the age of 26. Currently the program provides coverage until age 19. He also plans to reinstate the individual mandate for health care insurance, as well as fines for those who choose not to purchase coverage.

The costs of illegal immigration add up. FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (fairus.org) compiled the fiscal costs. In 2017 the federal government spent over $45.8 billion in total. State and local governments are even harder hit by these costs. Of the $88 billion spent in 2017, California’s share of that total was over $25 billion.

A recent report, which was requested by Congress, and compiled by the GAO (Governmental Accountability Office) on criminal aliens show some troubling data.
One in five criminals in federal prisons are criminal aliens and 91 percent are from six countries: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Columbia and the Dominican Republic. This represented 4.9 million arrests on 7.5 million offenses according to the report. One million drug crimes. Over 660,000 assault, sex crimes and kidnappings and 33,000 homicides. All stemming from our porous southern border, all over the past 15 years.

In order to find solutions, we have to be honest about the problems. Taking steps to stop as many criminals as possible seems prudent to any sane national security policy.

We have to be honest that not everyone coming into our country is looking for the American Dream.

That does not denigrate the people who are.

Nor does it denigrate those here illegally who are looking for a better life.

But the reality remains that we have somewhere between 12-30 million people living in the United States without documentation, depending on which study you choose. The problem isn’t going to go away by itself.

And not all of those undocumented people living in the United States are upstanding individuals.

Criminal aliens bring corruption, gang affiliations and illegal behavior that helped to destroy their native countries. Many times these criminals exploit the very people who fled these same conditions, now recreated within our own borders. They hide in our communities, in plain sight.

Sanctuary states do not improve these conditions, they exacerbate them. Sanctuary allows petty crimes to flourish, which eventually turn more serious as criminals know they can use our laws, and our courts, to their advantage.

Over 80 percent of voters say the U.S. needs secure borders. This includes 68 percent of Democrats. It makes you wonder then, whose voices matter more in states like California.

The time has come for more serious fixes, and serious conversation.

It is time to demand that politicians listen to our voice. Not the voices of criminals.

It is time to demand more leaders get serious about addressing and resolving the immigration and border security issues which face our state and nation.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at tbutero@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 862-2222.