May 20, 2024

On Thursday, the United States House of Representatives, in a 251-170 vote, passed the “Laken Riley Act.

The House on Thursday passed a bill that would require the detention of any migrant who committed burglary or theft, legislation that House Republicans named after a Georgia student who police say was killed by a man who illegally crossed the border.

The measure — dubbed the Laken Riley Act — cleared the chamber in a 251-170 vote, with 37 Democrats joining all Republicans present in voting “yes.” It was the latest move by GOP lawmakers to put a spotlight on the situation at the southern border, which has emerged as a key issue in the 2024 campaign cycle and a top vulnerability for President Biden heading into the general election.

Republicans have seized on Riley’s death to hammer the Biden administration.

“Innocent Americans from Laken Riley in Georgia to the 14-year-old rape victim of an illegal immigrant in our home state of Louisiana,” Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said Wednesday “They’ve all been victimized by those whom the Biden administration has released into our country. He is releasing them into your state.”


Laken Riley was killed while on a morning run at the University of Georgia (UGA.) Her accused killer, Jose Antonio Ibarra, a 26-year-old Venezuelan citizen, entered the United States illegally in 2022 and had been arrested several times before Riley’s death.

Previously on RedState: Laken Riley’s Mom Posts Heartbreaking Message to Facebook, Calls Murder by Illegal an ‘Avoidable Tragedy’

OUTRAGE: Alejandro Mayorkas Refuses to Admit Laken Riley’s Murderer Should Not Have Been in the USA

The full text of H.R.7511, The Laken Riley Act, may be viewed here. The “Sense of Congress” section is of particular interest, since this is the sense of a lot of people outside of Congress, as well:

Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that—

  1. the Biden administration should not have released Laken Riley’s alleged murderer into the United States;
  2. the Biden administration should have arrested and detained Laken Riley’s alleged murderer after he was charged with crimes in New York, New York, and Athens, Georgia;
  3. President Biden should publicly denounce his administration’s immigration policies that resulted in the murder of Laken Riley; and
  4. President Biden should prevent another murder like that of Laken Riley by ending the catch-and-release of illegal aliens, increasing immigration enforcement, detaining and removing criminal aliens, reinstating the Remain in Mexico policy, ending his abuse of parole authority, and securing the United States borders.


In simple English, the Act lays a good portion of the blame for Laken Riley’s death squarely at the feet of President Biden.

House Democrats were quick to label this as a “stunt”; one statement in particular, given the nature of Laken Riley’s death and the chaos on the nation’s southern border, seems especially tone-deaf.

On the floor of the House on Thursday, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said:

Unfortunately, instead of coming together to express our sorrow for Laken’s tragic loss, the majority appears to be exploiting her death for yet another partisan, political stunt. 

Rep. Nadler needs to learn to read the room. While Democrats and the legacy media (but I repeat myself) are fond of the claim that illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than citizens, it’s important to point out that the very fact these people are in the country at all constitutes a crime. Further, the Laken Riley Act enforces the detention and deportation of illegal aliens after the commission of a property crime or a crime against a person, not before.

The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

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