In Wake of Nursing Student’s Murder, State House Passes Bill Requiring Police to Identify and Arrest Illegal Immigrants

As ripples of the murder of 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley resonate across America, Georgia lawmakers have taken a step toward cracking down on illegal immigration in Georgia.

Riley was killed Feb. 22 after going out for a jog on the University of Georgia campus. Jose Ibarra, 26, an illegal immigrant from Venezuela, has been charged with malice murder and other charges in connection with Riley’s death.

With Riley’s death fresh on their minds, the Georgia state House on Thursday passed  House Bill 1105 to allow police to arrest anyone they believe is in the U.S. illegally and then detain that person for possible deportation by federal authorities, according to The Hill.

The bill passed 97-74 and now goes to the state Senate.

“Fixing policy in the face of unspeakable tragedy is not politics,” Republican state Rep. Houston Gaines said, according to the Associated Press. “It’s doing the right thing to ensure something like this never occurs again.”

Republican state Rep. Jesse Petrea sponsored the bill.

“Not cooperating with the federal immigration authorities endangers public safety and it makes a mockery out of our nation’s immigration laws, period,” he said, saying of Ibarra, “He said he was here for asylum. He was here for assault.”

Petrea had first proposed the bill a year ago, but it gained traction after Riley was killed, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“While we continue to pray for Laken Riley and her family, the Georgia House took action today to strengthen public safety and security in our state, stand firmly against illegal immigration and for the rule of law — and I am proud of the passage of House Bill 1105,” House Speaker Jon Burns, a Republican, said in a statement.

Democrats attacked the bill. Democratic state Rep. Pedro Marin said of the proposal, “we have had enough of attempts to promote racial profiling.”

Petrea would not budge.

“Oftentimes, these issues get obfuscated. This is a public safety bill and it addresses how law enforcement interacts with individuals who are illegally in the country and then break the laws of our country subsequently. It’s about that and nothing more,” he said.

In response to a complaint the bill discriminates against immigrants, he said the bill “is not about immigrants and I’m not going to listen to that rhetoric any further.”

Republican state Rep. Reynaldo Martinez, who was the first Hispanic mayor in Gwinnett County, supported the bill.

“We are not after the immigrants,” he said. “What we are after is these folks that commit crime.”

“There’s no more important bill we will consider this year,” Gaines said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.


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