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Wicker cosponsors Laken Riley Act requiring ICE to detain illegal immigrants arrested for theft

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker has hopped on as a co-sponsor of the Laken Riley Act, a measure requiring federal immigration authorities to arrest and detain illegal immigrants charged with theft or burglary.

The bill, which was introduced in the Senate on Tuesday after a House version passed last week, would require the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to arrest those in the country illegally who commit crimes such as theft, burglary, larceny, or shoplifting. It would mandate that the individuals are detained until they are removed from the U.S.

Additionally, the bill would allow states to bring civil actions against federal officials who refuse to enforce immigration law or violate the stipulations included in the measure.

The Laken Riley Act is named after the 22-year-old college nursing student recently killed on the campus of the University of Georgia. Jose Antonio Ibarra, an illegal immigrant from Venezuela, was arrested in New York for endangering a child prior to the murder of Riley. He was also cited in October 2023 for misdemeanor shoplifting in Georgia. However, he was not detained by ICE and was eventually released back into the public.

“Tragedies like this should never be allowed to happen again,” Wicker said, per a release from his office. “This bill would help us prevent American families from suffering further loss and heartbreak.”

Wicker is one of more than 30 original GOP co-sponsors on the bill as Democrats such as Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga. have called it “smoke and mirrors” following Congress’ failure to approve a bill that would have tightened security measures at the southern border. Republicans chose not to move forward with the legislation, arguing that President Joe Biden wouldn’t have actually implemented it.

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