Collins calls Laken Riley Act 'good policy,' wants Georgia senators to get on board

A Georgia lawmaker says he is not giving up on efforts to address the border crisis and prevent violent crime. Republican Rep. Mike Collins, who represents Georgia's 10th congressional district, originally introduced H.R.7511, The Laken Riley Act.

The House saw the resolution pass 251-170 and included support from 37 Democrats. However, it was blocked in the Senate. 

In a one-on-one interview with FOX 5 Reporter Brittany Edney, Collins says The Laken Riley Act is about solid legislation, not politics. 

"We need our two senators here in Georgia to get on board with this," stated Collins. "This is not a time to play politics. This is a time to pass good policy. And this piece of legislation is nothing but good policy."

Nursing student Laken Riley, 22, was killed while jogging on the University of Georgia campus on February 22. Suspect Jose Ibarra, who law enforcement says crossed the border illegally, pleaded "not guilty" in court on May 31.

Laken Riley was killed by a man who authorities say was in the country illegally.

Ibarra was indicted on 10 charges by a grand jury on May 8. Nine of the charges are felonies, including malice murder, three felony murder charges, kidnapping, aggravated assault with intent to rape, aggravated battery, tampering with evidence, and peeping tom. The remaining charge of interfering with a call for emergency help is a misdemeanor.

Collins says Ibarra shouldn’t have been on American soil in the first place.

"We've got criminal activity throughout this guy's entire history," explained Collins. "As a matter of fact, when he came across the border, they put him on parole instead of detaining him," Collins continued. "They let him go. So those things alone gave us great pause to see what was going on behind the scenes."


A group of senators is now calling for Democrats to consider the bi-partisan companion bill. S.3933 would require federal immigration authorities to detain undocumented immigrants who have been arrested or convicted of theft, burglary, larceny, or shoplifting. It would also allow states to take civil actions for injunctive relief against federal officials who refuse to enforce immigration law, including financial harm of more than $100.


"So that local law enforcement has the ability to contact ICE with these lesser criminal activities that are going on before they increase and become something major, as what happened in with Laken Riley," said Collins.

While critics have argued it could target undocumented immigrants, Collins has a firm response. "Well, I mean, it's fine. It needs to," Collins stated. "I don't care who it targets, as long as it protects American citizens."

Collins says he felt compelled to act as Riley’s murder happened in his district and her family is in full support. "They said, listen, if this will help keep any other family from going through this same tragedy, then please, by all means, put her name on it. We would love to have that," he revealed. 

According to documents obtained by FOX 5, the District Attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit is seeking a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for accused killer, Ibarra.