Republicans call for immigration crackdown after college student's death

republicans call for immigration crackdown after college student's death

“The horrible murder of 22-year-old Laken Riley at the University of Georgia should have NEVER happened,” Donald Trump said in a social media post.

Republicans are renewing their calls for stricter immigration rules following the death of University of Georgia student Laken Hope Riley after reports that the suspect in her murder entered the U.S. illegally from Venezuela.

Former President Donald Trump said in a social media post Monday that if he’s voted back into the White House later this year, he would “immediately seal the border, seal the border, stop the invasion and, on day one, we will begin the largest deportation operation of illegal criminals in American history.”

“Crooked Joe Biden’s Border INVASION is destroying our country and killing our citizens,” Trump said in the post. “The horrible murder of 22-year-old Laken Riley at the University of Georgia should have NEVER happened! The monster who took her life illegally entered our Country in 2022…and then was released AGAIN by Radical Democrats in New York after injuring a CHILD!!”

In a statement to Fox News Monday afternoon, the White House offered condolences to Riley’s family.

“We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Laken Hope Riley. People should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law if they are found to be guilty. Given this is an active case, we would have to refer you to state law enforcement and ICE,” the White House said in a statement to Fox.

Riley, 22, was found dead Thursday after jogging near a lake on UGA’s campus. Riley died from blunt force trauma. On Friday, the suspect in her killing, Jose Antonio Ibarra, was charged with felony murder, false imprisonment and kidnapping and concealing the death of another.

Ibarra was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in September 2022 after he unlawfully entered the U.S. near El Paso, Texas.

Several congressional Republicans are also calling for stricter border security amid the death of Riley, citing a connection between immigration and crime — though there is little evidence to suggest such a link. The calls for increased border security come after congressional Republicans killed a bipartisan border deal in the Senate earlier this month.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said in a post on social media Saturday that Biden needed to “close the border” in light of Riley’s death.

“The brutal murderer who took the life of Laken was one of the millions of illegal aliens that the Biden Administration simply released and unleashed upon our country,” Johnson said. “For Laken, and the countless many others lost to this border catastrophe, House Republicans will continue to fight tooth and nail for a return to law and order.”

Riley’s death and the resulting renewed urgency for tighter border measures mirror the fallout from 2018’s slaying of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, an Iowan killed by an undocumented immigrant.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp shared a letter addressed to President Joe Biden on Saturday slamming the Democrat’s “failed policies” on the border.

“Laken Riley’s tragic death struck the hearts of Georgians everywhere and has sparked national outrage,” Kemp said in a post on X. “Joe Biden’s failed policies have turned every state into a border state, and I’m demanding information from him so we can protect our people when the federal government won’t!”

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