GOP congressman introduces ‘Laken Riley Act’ to require ICE to detain migrants arrested for theft

Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga., is introducing legislation that would require ICE to detain illegal immigrants who are charged with local theft or burglary, after a migrant accused of such crimes was released and later charged with the murder of an American college student.

The Laken Riley Act is named after 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley, a college nursing student who was recently killed on the campus of University of Georgia. Jose Antonio Ibarra, the illegal immigrant from Venezuela charged with the brutal murder, had been arrested multiple times prior to the murder, but was not detained by ICE.

Before being charged with felony murder, Ibarra was arrested for driving under the influence and driving without a license, the Middle District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote in a press release citing a sworn affidavit and criminal complaint against the migrant. He also was cited for shoplifting in October 2023, according to police. Collins’ new bill would have required ICE to detain Ibarra after these first offenses, and prior to the death of Riley.

Collins, who represents Georgia’s 10th Congressional District of Athens – where the fatal attack occurred – said the murder of Riley is a “wakeup call” for America and the bill seeks to combat the “illegal crime wave” that he attributes to the ongoing border crisis.

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Laken Riley poses for a photo posted to Facebook. Riley, a nursing student, was found dead near a lake on the University of Georgia campus on Feb. 22, 2024. (Laken Riley/Facebook)

“The senseless murder of Laken Riley by Jose Ibarra, who had no business being in this country, was another wakeup call as Americans experience an illegal alien crime wave because of Joe Biden’s open border and local sanctuary city policies,Collins told Fox News Digital.

The congressman said the legislation will work to prevent similar tragic incidents from occurring as a result of the open southern border.

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“I wish we could bring Laken back, but we must now turn our focus to ensuring this doesn’t happen to another American,” the Republican congressman continued. “That’s why I introduced the Laken Riley Act.”

Mike Collins

Rep. Mike Collins leaves the House Republicans’ caucus meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on May 23, 2023. (Bill Clark/Getty Images)

The Laken Riley Act would “require Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to issue a detainer for illegal aliens who are charged or cited with local theft or burglary. More serious crimes already require ICE to issue detainers but had Athens, GA Police reached out to ICE about Jose Ibarra when he was cited for shoplifting, and ICE issued a detainer and picked him up, Laken Riley would be alive.”

The bill will also allow individual states to take action against the federal government “if an immigration related action harms the state or its citizens.”

“Allow states to sue the federal government for injunctive relief if an immigration related action (parole, violation of detention requirements, etc.), harms the state or its citizens. This gives states legal resource to force the federal government to address certain failures related to border security,” a press release announcing the legislation read.

Jose Antonio Ibarra Mugshot

Jose Ibarra was arrested on Feb. 23 in connection with Laken Riley’s Feb. 22 murder in Athens, Georgia. (Clarke County Sheriff’s Office)

The House could vote on the bill as soon as this week, the release added.

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Collins recently led the Georgia congressional delegation in a moment of silence for Riley, and has pledged to continue to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

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