Was Laken Riley’s Death Linked to Immigration Policy?

February 26, 2024
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Was Laken Riley's Death Linked to Immigration Policy?

State Senate Republicans attacked President Joe Biden Monday for failing to enforce the nation’s immigration laws following the murder of an Augusta University nursing student on the campus of the University of Georgia.

Jose Ibarra, a 26-year-old Venezuelan man in the country illegally, has been arrested and charged with the murder last Friday of Laken Riley, who was killed while jogging by a lake near the intramural fields at UGA.

“If this thug had not been in Athens, Georgia, illegally, Laken Riley would still be with us today,” Sen. Shelley Echols, R-Gainesville, told her Senate colleagues Monday. Echols has a daughter who is a sophomore at UGA.

Ibarra was arrested last September for child endangerment but was released.

“This could have been prevented,” said Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, who represents the Riley family in the Senate.

Senate Democrats objected to Republicans using a violent crime allegedly committed by one illegal immigrant to demonize all of the millions of people who have entered the U.S. illegally.

Sen. Nabilah Islam Parkes, D-Duluth, said statistics show immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.

“Immigrants are not members of a violent invading horde,” she said. “We must not succumb to tribalism and bigotry.”

Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain, blamed former President Donald Trump for blocking bipartisan reform legislation the U.S. Senate passed earlier this month for his political gain.

But Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming, blamed Biden for failing to enforce existing laws aimed at illegal immigration.

“On Day One of his administration, he relaxed the immigration laws in this country,” Dolezal said.

Monday’s Senate debate over illegal immigration came after Gov, Brian Kemp and Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, responded during the weekend to the murder in Athens by criticizing the Biden administration for failing to enforce the laws.

“Laken Riley’s tragic death struck the hearts of Georgians everywhere and has rightfully sparked national outrage,” Kemp said.

“As I have said many times before: every state is now a border state because of Joe Biden’s inaction, and today I am again demanding answers and information from the Biden administration that will help us protect our citizens when the federal government will not.”


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