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Mayorkas pushes back GOP tying Georgia student’s death to immigration: ‘One individual is responsible’

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday sought to clarify only “one individual is responsible” for the death of a Georgia student last month after Republicans linked the alleged suspect — a Venezuelan citizen — to the Biden administration’s handling of the border.

Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student at Augusta University’s Athens Campus, was found dead last month after her roommate reported she did not return from a run in the wooded area of the University of Georgia campus. Jose Ibarra, a 26-year-old, was later arrested and charged with murder in connection to her death.

U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement (UCBP) said Ibarra entered the country illegally in September 2022 near El Paso, Texas, from Mexico and was released for further processing after being detained.

When asked Sunday by CBS “Face The Nation” anchor Margaret Brennan if Ibarra should have been deported given his alleged crimes in other states after his release from detainment, Mayorkas said, “First and foremost, an absolute tragedy and our hearts break and our prayers are with the family, number one.”

“Number two and importantly as a prosecutor, having prosecuted violent crime and other crimes for 12 years, one individual is responsible for the murder, and that is the murderer. And we work very closely with state and local law enforcement to ensure that individuals who pose a threat to public safety are indeed our higher priority for detention and removal,” he continued.

Brennan then pressed the DHS secretary if the federal government was previously informed about Ibarra’s alleged past crimes he committed in the states, pointing out he could have been deported if that was the case.

She asked if there was a breakdown in the system, to which Mayorkas said, “There are a number of cities around the country that have varying degrees of cooperation with immigration authorities. We firmly believe that if a city is aware of an individual who poses a threat to public safety, then we would request they provide us with that information so that we can ensure that individual is detained if the facts will warrant.”

Brennan then suggested it sounded like authorities were not coordinating, to which Mayorkas said, “Well, cities have different levels of coronation. We were not notified in this instance.”

As former President Trump and his GOP allies attempt to use Riley’s death to criticize Biden’s border security policies, Democrats have argued issues of immigration and crime should not be conflated.


Source: The Hill

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