Senate Democrats Again Block Bipartisan Laken Riley Act

May 23, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 23, 2024 – U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, today delivered a speech on the Senate floor and joined Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in moving for passage of the bipartisan Laken Riley Act.

For the second time in recent months, Senate Democrats blocked passage of this commonsense legislation. Senator Britt is the lead Senate sponsor of the Laken Riley Act, which has 47 additional Senate cosponsors. The bill passed the House of Representatives on March 7, 2024, in a bipartisan vote of 251-70.

A transcript of Senator Britt’s remarks can be found below:

First, I’d like to say thank you to my colleague from South Carolina (Senator Lindsey Graham) for his leadership on this critical issue.

The Laken Riley Act is the bipartisan border bill that should be on the Senate floor today.

I am proud to be the lead Senate sponsor of this critical legislation, along with my colleague from North Carolina (Senator Ted Budd).

The Laken Riley Act passed the House of Representatives in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion.

The gentleman from Georgia Congressional District 10 (Congressman Mike Collins) secured 37 Democratic votes for this bill on the House floor.

And here in the Senate, the bill is bipartisan, and has a cosponsor list of 47 Senators.

I’m confident that a bipartisan majority of Senators support the Laken Riley Act and would vote for it today.

The House already did its work in a bipartisan fashion on this legislation, and now, it’s our turn here in the Senate.

And frankly, it’s well past time.

We should send this bipartisan bill to the President’s desk immediately.

If this bill had been the law of the land, Laken Riley would still be alive today.

Now, this body has an opportunity – and a responsibility in my opinion – to prevent this kind of unimaginable tragedy [from] happening to more families across America.

The Laken Riley Act is straightforward.

It says that ICE would be required to detain and deport illegal aliens who commit theft offenses.

It would also allow States to seek an injunction against any action taken by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General that violate immigration law to the detriment of the State or its citizens.

My colleague from South Carolina has been at the forefront of exposing the Biden Administration’s unprecedented abuse of immigration parole, which is directly relevant to the Laken Riley case.

Under the Trump administration and the Obama administration, parole was granted at our southern border on average (to) less than 6,000 people per year.

However, under President Biden, grants of parole have skyrocketed, and now we know over 1.3 million people have been paroled in the past year. One of those grants of parole went to Laken Riley’s alleged killer after he crossed the southern border illegally in 2022.

This abuse of parole continues to have devastating consequences for families and communities in every corner of our nation.

President Biden could stop this abuse of parole today if he wanted to. But he doesn’t, and he won’t.

This President refuses to reverse course.

It’s past time to force his hand on that, and past time to pass the Laken Riley Act. It will secure our homeland, it will help to safeguard our streets, it will help defend our families.

I yield the floor.

Video of Senator Britt’s remarks can be found here, and high-quality video for media use can be downloaded here.