May 20, 2024

The fallout from the tragic death of a 22-year-old University of Georgia student named Laken Riley continues to reverberate through the national conversation on immigration and the border crisis. Her murder at the hands of an illegal immigrant has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing debate over border security and immigration policy.


Republicans have responded to the horrific murder with condemnations of the Biden administration and its failure to employ solutions to the crisis at the southern border. GOP lawmakers recently passed a critical measure that could help to solve the problem, but Democrats are not on board with the idea.

This is especially true of Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), who recently accused the GOP of politicizing Riley’s demise. During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” he slammed Republicans for their response to the tragedy.

“I can tell you as a pastor who has done hundreds of eulogies and presided over all kinds of funerals, there is no grief worse than when nature is tragically reversed and rather than the children burying the parents, the parents have to bury the children,” Warnock said.

He continued, arguing that “in this moment of grief, there are those who are trying to score cheap political points.”

The senator went on to criticize Republicans for refusing to agree to a bipartisan bill that would have also sent even more taxpayer funding to Ukraine.

And the fact that they are those who walked away from this bipartisan legislation or at least a chance to debate it and now they’re trying to score political points in the wake of a young woman’s death. That is craven politics at its worst. It’s what turns people away from politics. And I think we can do much better than that. We can secure the border, and we can make sure that we are doing everything we can to make sure our children are safe.


This might hold some water if Democrats were actually serious about border security. It is abundantly clear that they are not. The bipartisan bill had far too many loopholes that President Biden and Democrats could exploit to ensure that the influx of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants would continue.

The bill includes a new emergency authority that would allow the Department of Homeland Security to, as Biden has put it, “shut down” the border if there are too many migrants trying to cross.

DHS could close the border if Border Patrol encountered 4,000 or more migrants on average over seven days. The border would have to be shut down if those encounters reached a seven-day average of 5,000 or if they exceeded 8,500 in a single day.

The border couldn’t be shut down under this authority for more than 270 days in the first year. And the bill would give the president the power to suspend a border closure “on an emergency basis for up to 45 days if it is in the national interest.”

During an emergency closure, Border Patrol would still need to process a minimum of 1,400 migrants who try to enter the U.S. legally through ports of entry. Only unaccompanied minors would be able to cross between ports of entry. And any migrant who tried to cross illegally two or more times during a border emergency would be barred from the U.S. for a year.


Warnock’s accusations against Republicans are little more than a deflection from the fact that Biden and Democrats are unable or unwilling to come up with an actual solution to the problem at the southern border.

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