The 115th United States Congress has only been in session for a few days, but Republicans are already taking advantage of their overwhelming majority.
On Thursday, Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa (F, 59%) released a statement announcing that she, along with Senators Chuck Grassley, R-Ind. (D, 66%), Deb Fischer, R-Neb. (F, 55%), and Ben Sasse, R-Neb. (A, 94%), reintroduced a piece of legislation that would require federal officials to take custody of illegal immigrants “charged with a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person.”
The legislation, known as Sarah’s Law, was named to honor Sarah Root, a 21-year-old Iowa woman who was killed last January in the “sanctuary city” of Omaha, Neb., by 19-year-old Edwin Mejia, an illegal immigrant who was driving drunk three times over the legal limit, and drag racing. Mejia, a Honduran native who entered the United States as an “unaccompanied minor” in 2013, disappeared after posting the $5,000 bail and has been at large ever since.
“Mr. Mejia has been on the [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s] Most Wanted List for more than nine months — that’s time he should have been behind bars,” Senator Sasse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in the press release this week. “Congress has an opportunity to make sure this never happens again. Sarah’s Law would make it absolutely clear that ICE must immediately detain any illegal alien who kills someone.”
Thursday’s move to reintroduce the law offers families of individuals killed by illegal immigrants renewed hope that their loved ones will be vindicated. If passed, the legislation would require ICE officials to “make reasonable efforts to identify and provide relevant information to the crime victims or their families.”
“It is unconscionable that nearly one year after Sarah’s death, Edwin Mejia remains at-large, and the fact remains that today U.S. immigration law does not require federal immigration authorities to detain those here illegally who harm American citizens,” Senator Ernst said. “Although nothing can bring Sarah back to her family or heal the wounds of such unimaginable loss, we have an obligation to the American people to ensure that no citizen falls victim to this injustice again. Sarah’s Law is about honoring Sarah, and her legacy; I have already had conversations with the incoming administration, and am hopeful that they will work with Congress to pursue
In his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Donald Trump described Sarah Root as “just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting. One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders.” The president-elect made illegal immigration a focal point of his presidential campaign, inviting family members of those killed by illegals to join him onstage at the RNC and to speak at various campaign stops.
“We are sadly hearing of these instances far too often. If the Obama administration won’t protect our citizens, Congress will make it clear illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes will be detained. We must do everything possible to prevent the pain Sarah’s loved ones and too many others have endured,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. (F, 51%).
Since Sarah’s Law was first introduced in June 2016, the legislation has gained new support from Senators Jerry Moran, R-Kan. (D, 67%), Pat Roberts, John Thune, R-S.D. (F, 44%), Ted Cruz, R-Texas (A, 97%), and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. (C, 72%). Congressman David Young, R-Ind. (F, 38%) will lead a House companion bill.
Sen. Cruz indicated that the November election afforded Congress “an extraordinary chance” to strengthen border security and restore the rule of law in a post-Obama America.
“The last eight years under the Obama Administration have seen a disastrous deterioration of the rule of law and an unwillingness to justly prosecute those who break our laws,” said Senator Cruz. “But now we have an extraordinary chance to reverse that course, secure our border, and strengthen our immigration laws. I am proud to be a sponsor of Sarah’s Law and other similar law enforcement measures that will deter illegal immigration, and ensure those who disregard our immigration laws and bring harm to our citizens are held accountable.” (For more from the author of “This Is What REAL Hope Looks Like: GOP Senators Fight for Families of Victims of Illegal Aliens” please click HERE)