Mayorkas: Feds Not Told of Laken Riley Suspect’s Arrests

State and local governments did not inform federal authorities about the alleged criminal activity of the undocumented Venezuelan migrant who is charged in the death of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“Different cities have different levels of cooperation,” Mayorkas said. “We were not notified in this instance.”

Riley, 22, a nursing student at the Augusta University College of Nursing, was found beaten to death Feb. 22 on the University of Georgia campus after she went out for a run. Jose Antonio Ibarra, who was in the U.S. illegally, was arrested on murder and assault charges in connection to her death. 

Mayorkas called Riley’s death “an absolute tragedy.”

“And our hearts break for and our prayers are with the family,” he added. “We firmly believe that if a city is aware of an individual who poses a threat to public safety, then we would request that they provide us with that information.”

Ibarra was apprehended by Border Patrol in September 2022 before being released on parole, the New York Post reported.

Following his release, he was allegedly involved in two criminal incidents. In August, he was arrested in New York for illegally driving a scooter without a license. In October, he was arrested in connection to a shoplifting case.

Several cities, including New York, have “sanctuary city” policies that limit cooperation with federal authorities enforcing immigration laws.

Republicans have blamed the Biden administration’s border security policies for Riley’s death and have criticized Ibarra’s release on parole, a procedure that is used when Border Patrol is overwhelmed. Republicans have also said Ibarra should have been deported after allegedly committing crimes before Riley’s murder.

Mayorkas told “Face the Nation,” “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.”

Brian Freeman

Brian Freeman, a Newsmax writer based in Israel, has more than three decades writing and editing about culture and politics for newspapers, online and television.

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