Dick Durbin Shuts Down GOP Bill

(RepublicanJournal.org) – As public fears about the dangers of illegal immigration grow, the Biden administration is desperately trying to shed its reputation for being weak on border security. Unfortunately for the White House, its efforts are being sabotaged by the Democratic Party itself as a leading left-wing senator has just blocked a bill that would have protected Americans from illegals charged with violent crimes.

Foreign Criminals Are Killing Americans

In January 2019, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced Senate Bill 285, also known as Sarah’s Law. Written in response to the killing of Nebraska woman Sarah Root by a drunk, street-racing illegal immigrant in January 2016, the bill would require any illegal charged with causing death or serious injury in the US to be detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

Root’s killer, 19-year-old Honduran national Eswin Meija, was released the month after her death after posting just $5,000 bail — and immediately fled. He still hasn’t been recaptured. However, despite being co-sponsored by 25 other senators, Ernst’s bill has never been brought to a vote.

On February 22, Georgia nursing student Laken Riley was murdered on campus at the University of Georgia in Athens. Jose Antonio Ibarra, a 26-year-old illegal immigrant from Venezuela, has been arrested and charged with her murder. Ibarra has been arrested by state and federal law enforcement multiple times since illegally crossing into Texas in September 2022 and being released into the US.

His alleged crimes include injuring a child in New York last September — but the “sanctuary” city’s police released him before ICE could issue a detainer. In response to Riley’s death the House passed the Laken Riley Act by 251 votes to 170; 37 Democrats voted with Republicans to pass it. The bill almost mirrors Ernst’s Senate bill, mandating federal detention of illegal migrant criminals.

Ernst Asks For Vote — Durbin Refuses

On March 6, Ernst put in a unanimous consent request, calling for a floor vote on Sarah’s Law. In an emotional speech, she reminded senators that mandatory detention of illegals who caused injury or death would have prevented both Meija’s escape and Riley’s murder. She pointed out that it only mandates detention, and only applies to those charged with the most serious crimes.

Unfortunately, her request ran into Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), who refused to allow a vote — and, as it was a unanimous consent request, that was enough to block it. Durban claims the bill would detain domestic violence victims who are charged with injuring or killing people, and “deprive migrants of the due process that everyone is afforded.” This is a strange argument, as illegal immigrants don’t have a right to not be detained. For now, though, Durbin has stopped Congress from preventing more tragedies like the murder of Laken Riley.

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