Dick Durbin Blocks GOP Bill

(ReliableNews.org) – In January 2016, 21-year-old Sarah Root was out celebrating her graduation from Bellevue University in Nebraska when tragedy struck. According to the Daily Mail, she was stopped at a traffic light when Eswin Mejia allegedly rear-ended her car while he was street racing — drunk. While her family kept her alive in the hospital for three days following the incident, her injuries were too severe, and she died. Mejia was arrested for the crime and released on bond. The immigrant, who was reportedly in the country illegally, fled and never faced justice. Recently, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) tried to advance a bill to help prevent such a disappearance, but a seasoned Democrat stopped it.

What Happened?

On March 7, Fox News reported that Ernst tried to force a floor vote on what is referred to as Sarah’s Law. The measure would require Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to detain any illegal immigrant who commits a violent crime that results in a death or serious injury. However, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) denied the request. He said the measure would “deprive immigrants of the due process that everyone is afforded” in the United States.

Senator Ernst was insistent that this bill was essential, citing not only Mejia’s escape from justice following Root’s untimely death but another incident involving University of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley. The legislator said these instances are “doomed to be repeated” if Congress doesn’t change the law regarding detention. Still, the measure would not have stopped either death. It would simply allow the wheels of justice to turn against defendants who enter the country illegally and commit a crime.

Additional Details About Sarah’s Law

On the 8th anniversary of Root’s death, Ernst issued a press release acknowledging the day while explaining Sarah’s Law and her efforts to pass it. She claimed there was a loophole in the current law that she intended to close. The senator said under her proposal, the young woman’s alleged “killer would have been detained by law enforcement and prosecuted.” She admonished the Biden administration for “illegal immigrants pour[ing] into the country,” stating US laws should keep Americans safe, “not prioritize illegal immigrants.” Root’s death happened during the Obama administration.

Ernst said Representative Randy Feenstra (R-IA) is also fighting to advance the bill in the Lower Chamber, where it has 57 GOP cosponsors. The measure is sitting in the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate bill is also with its Judiciary Committee and currently has 11 Republican cosponsors.

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