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House passes bill targeting illegal immigrant criminals: ‘Laken Riley Act’

The U.S. Capitol Building. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
March 08, 2024

The House of Representatives passed the “Laken Riley Act” on Thursday prior to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. The bill, named after the 22-year-old nursing student from Georgia who was allegedly killed by an illegal immigrant, would force federal immigration authorities to detain illegal immigrants who are charged with burglary or local theft.

Laken Riley was killed on February 22 after allegedly being attacked by an illegal immigrant in a wooded area near the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. Following Riley’s murder, the suspect, 26-year-old Jose Antonio Ibarra, was arrested and charged with murdering the 22-year-old college student. The illegal immigrant entered the United States illegally in September of 2022 and had previously been arrested in New York City in August of 2023.

The “Laken Riley Act” would require federal government officials to detain foreign nationals in the U.S. who commit “burglary, theft, larceny, or [a] shoplifting offense.” The bill would also allow states to sue the federal government for failing to enforce certain immigration laws. According to Fox News, the bill was approved 251-170 by the House on Thursday.

After the House approved the “Laken Riley Act,” Riley’s mother, Allyson Phillips, shared a celebration post on Facebook, writing, “Praise God! #SayHerName LAKEN HOPE RILEY BILL – PASSED.”

READ MORE: Illegal immigrant kills college student: Report

Discussing the future of the bill, Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.), the sponsor of the “Laken Riley Act,” told The Daily Caller, “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.”

Collins, who represents the district where the 22-year-old college student was killed, emphasized that there is “nothing wrong with this bill” and suggested that the bill has a “good chance of helping save a life.”

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) told The Daily Caller that Riley’s death was caused by “Biden’s failed policies.” The Georgia representative said Congress needs to take action if the president is not going to secure the southern border.

Discussing the suspect in Riley’s death, Loudermilk said, “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?”