February 29, 2024

Athens Mayor Deflects Blame for Laken Riley’s Murder

Democrats opened the border and welcomed all comers. Law enforcement released the killer three times. Kelly Girtz says he’s not responsible.

The brutal murder of Laken Riley by an illegal alien on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens has put a face on the human cost of Joe Biden’s open border. It’s revealed the utter insanity of “sanctuary” policies that protect illegals at the expense of the safety and lives of American citizens. It shows that Democrats, from Joe Biden to the mayor of Athens, have blood on their hands.

No wonder Biden is heading to the border today. A relatively quiet section with few illegal crossings, mind you, but the old fella has to pretend he cares about the crisis (he created).

That brings us to Democrat Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz, who held a press conference yesterday to address Riley’s murder and deflect blame from himself and his party. We’ll start with the biggest whopper:

“I caution against conflating immigration and crime. The data demonstrates that the two are not connected.”

That’s a BIG lie for a couple of big reasons. First of all, any alien who crosses the border illegally has committed a crime as his or her first act on American soil. Girtz weaseled around this by not using the word “illegal.” Second, the only reason Girtz can spout such nonsense about data is that there is no real database at any level of government linking crime to immigration status. In fact, as Mark Alexander has written, “The Biden administration has deliberately prohibited any national database of violent crimes committed by illegal aliens he has invited into our country.”

The Leftmedia had a field day “fact-checking” Donald Trump for asserting a connection between illegal immigration and crime, and they repeatedly pointed to a lack of data.

PolitiFact began the charade before Trump was even elected in 2016: “There is no national database or study tracking how many people have been killed by undocumented immigrants or the nationality of the victims.” Therefore, PolitiFact concluded that Trump’s assertion was “half true.”

NBC News was less charitable with a 2017 headline and story: “Fact Check: No Evidence Undocumented Immigrants Commit More Crimes.” The “no database” fact was used against Trump again. Likewise, in 2019, ABC News cited “no national database,” which makes it “difficult to confirm or dispute the president’s numbers.”

Just today, The Washington Post’s “fact-checker” posted a story about Riley’s murder — a story that did not name her, instead referring to her as “a Georgia nursing student.” The point of the story was the same as the above — to lean on the fact that there’s “so little hard data” to infer that the Right’s claims are not factual and are probably racist and anti-immigrant.

Where’s the fact-check on Girtz for asserting no connection when there’s no database?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection does keep some criminal noncitizen statistics, but that’s not the same as linking crime with legal status. And Democrat sanctuary jurisdictions actively thwart FBI efforts to collect full data on crime.

In the case of the Venezuelan illegal alien charged with Riley’s murder, the Border Patrol apprehended him in 2022 but released him. The New York Police Department arrested him in September 2023 for endangering a child (no restraint or helmet on a moped) but then released him before ICE officials could take custody. He soon ended up in Georgia, where he was arrested in October for shoplifting and then released. We sense a pattern.

Most offensively, Girtz held the press conference to discuss the murder of a young American citizen by an illegal alien. According to charging documents, the killer caused “great bodily harm with an object,” “seriously disfiguring her body” and “disfiguring her skull.” He dragged her body to a secluded area to conceal the crime. She would be alive today if the border were not open.

What in the world made Girtz think that was the appropriate venue to get into misleading statistical arguments?

The answer is politics. Girtz went on to slam Donald Trump for “speaking in the most vile terms about people who are foreign-born.” No, Trump said unkind things about criminals who flout our laws, and he worked hard to secure our border. Joe Biden’s border dereliction is not Trump’s fault.

“This is my 18th year as a local government policymaker,” Girtz said, “and my work has overlapped with four U.S. presidencies and numerous iterations of Congress. All of them failed to reach an agreement on how to handle immigration.”

He added, “There is no legislation from this [city] government that’s created sanctuary city status.”

The clear message: This was not my fault. In fact, he implies, as Biden does, that blame lies with Republicans for blocking legislative compromise.

Press conference attendees sure didn’t buy his snake oil. Several of them loudly interrupted him, with one saying: “You’re a liar! You’re the one who is guilty and got blood on your hands for this murder, sir!” He added, “You need to resign!”

As for Athens, no, it’s not technically a sanctuary city. Georgia law has banned such policies for the last 15 years, albeit not without resistance from Atlanta and some other cities. But the Athens City Council did unanimously pass a resolution in 2019 stating its goal “to foster a community where individuals and families of all statuses feel safe” so that “all people, including those without documentation, feel welcome and comfortable interacting with local law enforcement, their local government, and all services provided by such.” Girtz has been a key figure on that welcome wagon that effectively makes Athens a sanctuary city.

Athens-Clarke County Sheriff John Williams pledged during his campaign “to cooperate with those ICE detainers.”

Few residents should feel safe knowing that authorities release violent illegal aliens after stonewalling immigration authorities.

“Responsibility for this crime rests solely upon the perpetrator,” Girtz asserted. Notice that Democrats never say that about crimes committed with guns. He is right that everyone is responsible for their own actions. He’s wrong to deflect blame for the circumstances here. The difference between this and gun crime is that the Republican Party does not advocate releasing criminals onto the streets.

“The blood of Laken Riley is on the hands of Joe Biden, Alejandro Mayorkas, and the government of Athens-Clarke County,” asserted GOP Representative Mike Collins, whose district encompasses the Athens area. “The Venezuelan suspect in Laken Riley’s murder is one of millions of illegal aliens that the Biden administration has released into this country to be welcomed with open arms by Democrat-run sanctuary jurisdictions.”

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a stern rebuke of Biden, demanding answers. Kemp declared, “Because of the White House’s failures, every state is now a border state.”

The unfortunate truth for Kemp and Georgia Republicans is that, as of 2021, only six states are “home” to more illegal aliens than the Peach State. There’s obviously some cleanup to do. The lives of American citizens depend on it.


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