February 28, 2024

Border Debate Turns Deadly With Laken Riley Murder

Biden admin “has blood on its hands.”

By Suzanne Bowdey

By the time Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was sitting in the MSNBC interview chair, Laken Riley’s parents were living a nightmare. Their daughter’s body had been found, brutally murdered, in the woods by the University of Georgia campus where she’d gone running. Police hadn’t announced publicly that they’d found the killer when Ocasio-Cortez launched into a diatribe about the Republicans’ “false narrative” on the border. “We’re going to keep pretending this is a crisis,” the radical Democrat insisted, hours before one family grieved just how wrong she was.

No one knows why Laken was killed. Police called it a “crime of opportunity,” an opportunity — many argue — Jose Antonio Ibarra never should have had. As UGA Police Chief Jeffrey Clark said at a Friday night news conference, all we know is this: “He was not a U.S. citizen.” Like the millions of other people Joe Biden let across the border, Ibarra was bussed deep into New York City, where he was released to commit crime after crime. Each time he was arrested, he was let go. Now, an innocent young nursing student — with her whole life ahead of her — has paid for it. “Laken Riley is dead because America failed to protect her,” the New York Post Editorial Board wrote in a blistering piece aimed at the Biden administration.

The story is a haunting one that this White House will have a hard time shaking off. President Biden is already drowning in the nationwide disapproval of his immigration policy, as an astonishing 67% object to his indifference at the dangers of the open border. No amount of messaging or hollow executive orders can ever bring Laken back. No amount of presidential sympathy can do what his policy should have done from the beginning: keep us safe.

“This fact — that one of our governments had in its custody a man who it knew was bad news, and who it knew was here illegally — justly infuriates people,” Charles Cooke insisted on NRO. “Jose Antonio Ibarra had no business being in America — and, once his presence had been discovered, he should not have been.”

Former President Donald Trump, whose strict immigration policies held millions of migrants at bay, blasted his successor on Truth Social, writing, “… Joe Biden’s Border INVASION is destroying our country and killing our citizens! The horrible murder of 22-year-old Laken Riley at the University of Georgia should have NEVER happened!”

Desperate to circle the wagons of their sinking president, outlets like the Associated Press have made the ridiculous assertion that the violence was basically Laken’s fault. She shouldn’t have been running alone in a wooded area. In fact, the AP ignored the fact that Ibarra was even in the country illegally, arguing instead that the killing “highlights the fears of solo female athletes.”

“But the burden … was not on Riley to be more careful or to find a running buddy,” National Review’s Haley Strack fired back, “it was her government’s responsibility to ensure that illegal predators who are known to law enforcement cannot so easily lurk in the shadows, waiting to strike.”

Social media lit up over the idiocy of the AP’s blame-shifting. “Pretty sure that’s not the lesson here,” The American Spectator’s Stephen Miller tweeted. “By tomorrow the AP will be tying this to climate change,” Twitchy’s Doug Powers predicted, half-jokingly.

Others tried to play a numbers game. The Cato Institute’s David Boaz suggested, “On the day that young woman was tragically killed,” Boaz wrote, “70 people were killed by American citizens.” Cooke, shaking his head, replied that he finds this way of thinking “entirely baffling.” “If the question at hand here were, ‘Do illegal immigrants commit crimes at a higher rate than U.S. citizens?’ these numbers would be relevant. But that’s not the question, is it? The question that the critics are asking is, ‘What could have been done to prevent this murder?’”

It’s also an interesting contrast to the Democrats’ response to other forms of violence. When someone dies in a school shooting, the Left works to take away guns from everyone, including law-abiding citizens. But when a young, 22-year-old is murdered by an illegal immigrant that their policies let into the country, their first inclination isn’t to deport all of the migrants who pose a danger to Americans — it’s to dismiss it as random. Their outrage is obviously selective, based on their preferred political narrative of that moment.

The reality is much more damning. Ibarra was free to do harm, because of lawless decisions this president made. “These are the tragic consequences of open border policies,” Congressman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) argued. “The Biden Administration has blood on its hands.”

As Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) pointed out, “Every parent, and every American, is saddened — and outraged — to hear about the loss of University of Georgia student Laken Riley. Our prayers are with her family and friends as they mourn this tragedy. 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.”

For her sake, he vowed, “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. Mr. President, use your existing statutory authority and CLOSE THE BORDER!”

This entirely preventable tragedy will almost certainly steel the Republicans’ spine when it comes to this week’s budget fights. In a conversation with Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.) on “Washington Watch” Monday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins suggested that Americans will probably see “a defining moment in Washington this week with the confrontation between conservatives saying it’s time to secure our border — and the administration pushing for more government funding.”

Estes agreed, pointing out that the sad part of all of this is that “we don’t need additional laws.” We need a president who cares about the ones that exist. “President Biden [took] 60 different steps when he first came into office to undo what was being done successfully [at the border] during the Trump administration. … [t]hings like the Remain in Mexico policy, which would solve 70 to 80% of our problem, according to our conversations with the Border Patrol agents.”

“If the Biden administration would just enforce the laws to protect the country, the laws that are on the books would actually help America. And you wouldn’t see these terrible deaths, these atrocities, and these other crimes being committed by the illegal aliens that have been brought into the country and allowed to stay here and then released to roam throughout the countryside.”

The White House can continue to offer trite statements and meaningless condolences — or it can act. But eventually, the clock on Joe Biden’s lawlessness will run out. Either the illegal crossers will be held accountable or — come November — this president will.

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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