The House passed a bill Thursday that would target illegal migrants in the U.S. who have committed certain crimes, naming the legislation in memory of the late nursing student Laken Hope Riley.

Riley, aged 22, was killed on Feb. 22 after being allegedly attacked while running in a forested area near the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, Georgia, with the suspect arrested and charged with her murder, Jose Antonio Ibarra, being a Venezuelan national who allegedly entered the United States illegally and was released after being initially detained. The Laken Riley Act would require the federal government to detain foreign nationals who commit “burglary, theft, larceny, or [a] shoplifting offense” as well as grant states to sue the federal government for non-enforcement of certain aspects of immigration law, and passed the House by a vote of 251 yeas to 170 nays.

“It should pass the Senate. That doesn’t mean it will or it would, but it should. This is common sense legislation. This is good legislation, and this can help our local law enforcement so I would hope that the Senate would look at it from that standpoint,” Republican Rep. Mike Collins of Georgia, the bill’s sponsor, who represents the district where Riley died, told the DCNF. “There’s nothing wrong with this bill. There’s nothing I could see that they could point at and say ‘That’s wrong,’ with this bill. And if we can pass this, we should pass it. It’s got a good chance of helping save a life.”

H.R. 7511, Laken Riley Act by Daily Caller News Foundation

“Laken Riley is not here with us anymore because of Biden’s failed policies. It’s about border security more than immigration. So, we need to look at what can we do if he is not going to secure the border,” Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia told the DCNF. “Her murderer was arrested in New York City weeks before and was released. Why shouldn’t he have been deported at that moment, by committing a crime?”

“Jose Ibarra, a 26-year-old citizen of Venezuela, was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Sept. 8, 2022, after unlawfully entering the United States near El Paso, Texas. He was paroled and released for further processing,” ICE spokesperson Lindsay Williams told the DCNF. “On Aug. 31, 2023, Ibarra was arrested by the New York Police Department and charged with acting in a manner to injure a child less than 17 and a motor vehicle license violation. He was released by the NYPD before a detainer could be issued,” Williams added.

The bill was passed shortly before Biden visited the U.S. Capitol to deliver the annual State of the Union address.

“This is a young lady who was just…with everything that we’ve learned about her, [she] just had a great future, a wonderful young lady who was dedicating herself to being a nurse, to help people,” Republican Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter of Georgia told the DCNF. “Don’t think that this is the only incident there are other incidents, as well…Every city is a border city. Now, every state is a border state.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation


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