Tuberville Honors Border Crisis Victims

“To Democrats, and this administration, Laken Riley is just another sacrifice on the altar of woke ideology.”

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) called out President Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, and the Democratic Party for their willful refusal to secure America’s borders, resulting in the death of thousands of Americans, most recently Laken Riley. Senator Tuberville highlighted the devastating crime taking place across the country as a result of the open border and demanded that these policies be changed.

Excerpts from Senator Tuberville’s speech can be found below, and his full remarks can be viewed here

“Mr. President, ‘I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. That I take this obligation freely, without any mental purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So, Help Me God.’ Mr. President that is the oath we all take once we become Senators of the United States. 

Mr. President, just imagine that you are Allyson and John Phillips. Last Thursday afternoon, you get a phone call from law enforcement in Athens, Georgia. The voice on the other end of the phone says that your daughter has been murdered by an illegal immigrant. I cannot imagine what that feels like. I cannot even begin to understand the shock, the sadness, and the anger. Laken Riley was a nursing student at Augusta University in Georgia this past year. Wednesday morning, she went out for a jog on the campus of the University of Georgia. She never came back. Police found her body in the woods a few hours later—around noontime. She was covered with blood and injuries from head to toe.

An autopsy found that she died of blunt force trauma to the head. The charging documents in the case say that her skull was disfigured. This was a brutal murder of an innocent young woman.

Laken Riley was just 22 years old. She had her whole life ahead of her. She had a bright future. Now that future will never be realized.

I spent 40 years of my life on college campuses. I dedicated my life to coaching young adults. But I wasn’t just a Coach—I was also a mentor. There is nothing more heartbreaking than losing a promising young person like Laken Riley. And I want to offer my condolences to Laken’s family.

Our number one commodity in this country is our young people. Laken’s death is even more heartbreaking because it could have been prevented—and it SHOULD have been prevented.

On Friday night, police arrested and charged Jose Antonio Ibarra with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping and hindering a 911 call. 

Jose Ibarra is an illegal immigrant from Venezuela. In other words, he should never have been in this country in the first place. This brutal and horrific murder would have been prevented if Joe Biden and Democrats had done their job of enforcing the law. 

Jose Ibarra crossed our Southern Border into El Paso in September 2022, a year, and a half ago. He was PAROLED into our country—we’ll talk more about parole in a minute. His social media accounts show that he went from El Paso to New York City. New York is a sanctuary city. That means that illegals who commit crimes will NOT be turned over to the immigration police when their jail time is up. This is an open invitation by New York City to criminals. We have a lot of these sanctuary cities in the country today. 

According to ICE, he was arrested just five months ago in New York City and charged with “acting in a manner to injure a child” and for driving without a license. Specifically, he was arrested for allegedly endangering a 5-year-old child. Athens police called the murder of Laken Riley a “crime of opportunity.” In other words, this was essentially a random act of violence. It could have been ANYONE’s daughter. She did absolutely nothing wrong.

So, my question is: where are Georgia’s senators today? What are Georgia’s Senators doing to secure the border to protect more people like Laken Riley? Where is their outrage?

Soon, the Senate will hold a trial on articles of impeachment against Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas. The guy that is in charge of our border. Are Georgia’s Senators going to vote to save Secretary Mayorkas’s job? Are the Senators from Georgia going to walk the plank for Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer? Are Senators from border states—like California and Arizona—going to save Mayorkas’s job?

The job that he has refused to do for the last three and a half years. We will find out and find out soon.”

“To Democrats, and this administration, Laken Riley is just another sacrifice on the altar of woke ideology. The blame for this crime lies with this Administration and with the Democrat Senate majority. 

Democrats run Washington right now. The buck stops with them. Democrats could have stopped this—if they had secured our border.

“Just yesterday in my state of Alabama, Albertville police arrested two illegal aliens for alleged child exploitation. The list goes on and on. I could be up here all day. Americans are dying due to our open borders at the southern and northern border. And they are dying every single day.”


“Since taking office, Joe Biden has taken 94 executive actions against immigration enforcement… Meanwhile he’s saying he can’t do anything to fix the border. He can start by undoing all 94 of those executive actions. One of those executive actions was the abuse of the parole system.

That is how Jose Ibarra, who killed Laken Riley, got into this country. Joe Biden paroled him into the country, meaning he was arrested by Homeland Security and then released.”

“Laken Riley’s death, and the death of every other American caused by this border crisis, rest with President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas. Hope they can’t sleep at night. We need to go back to the policies that worked. 

Stop playing games. Stop playing politics. Otherwise, this will keep happening. We are here and we took an oath of office to protect the citizens of this country. And more Americans will die.

More parents will be forever scared. And every time we have somebody that lost their life in this country due to an illegal alien, I am coming back up here. And I am going to rub it in the faces of the Democratic Party, Secretary Mayorkas, Senator Schumer and President Biden. 100 percent their fault.

With that, I yield the floor.”


Senator Tuberville originally introduced the Border and Security Act in March 2023 as part of his continued push to protect Americans by combatting the border crisis created by President Biden’s immigration policies. Senator Tuberville’s legislation puts more responsibility on the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and gives increased authority to state attorneys general in holding DHS accountable if the Department fails in its duty to restrict entry and detain illegal immigrants. A historic 2.76 million illegal immigrants crossed the southern border in fiscal year 2022, and a record-breaking 3.2 million in fiscal year 2023. The open border is also contributing to the deadly fentanyl epidemic, which has now become the leading cause of death for adults age 18-45. 

If enacted, the Border Safety and Security Act would: 

  • Authorize the DHS Secretary to suspend the entry of illegal immigrants at the U.S. border should the secretary determine it is necessary to do so in order to regain operational control of the border.
  • Require the secretary to suspend the entry of illegal immigrants during any period of time in which DHS cannot detain such individuals or place them in Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), or a similar program.
  • Authorize state attorneys general to bring legal action against DHS should the secretary fail to suspend entry without detention or use of MPP, continuing to place strain on communities, so as to obtain injunctive relief.
  • Original cosponsors in the Senate include U.S. Senators Katie Britt (R-AL), J.D. Vance (R-OH), and Mike Lee (R-UT).

The legislation is supported by the America First Policy Institute, Numbers USA, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Securing the Border

Senator Tuberville supports common-sense policies that strengthen our border and national security like building the wall and reinstating the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the Remain in Mexico policy. Senator Tuberville has spoken about his concerns on the floor of the U.S. Senate and called on the Biden administration to act. In September 2023, Senator Tuberville helped introduce the Secure the Border Act of 2023, the Senate companion passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, commonly known as H.R. 2. 

During his three years in the United States Senate, Senator Tuberville has made multiple visits to the southern border and worked on many legislative initiatives to secure the border, including giving law enforcement the tools needed to keep our communities safe and reforming immigration law to crack down on abuse and discourage illegal immigration.

In December 2023, Senator Tuberville called on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement to overhaul its harmful and deficient policies regarding the treatment of unaccompanied alien children in the United States.

In November 2023, Senator cosponsored the Southern Border Transparency Act. The legislation would force the DHS to increase its reporting of data about illegal immigrants entering the country, in turn providing greater transparency to the American people.

In August 2023, Senator called on the Department of Defense to halt the sale of border wall construction materials after reports that the Department was moving quickly to dispose of the parts before the provisions of Wicker’s FINISH It Act could be implemented. In addition to halting all further auctions of border wall materials and requesting detailed information on the current sales, the letter calls for the administration to direct the Department of Defense Inspector General to investigate Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs Melissa Dalton for her failure to provide Congress accurate and timely information about the use of these border wall construction materials.

In July 2023, Senator introduced a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to strike down President Biden’s Circumvention of Lawful Pathways rule, which funnels illegal immigrants into unlawful parole programs that the DHS has established without Congress’ consent. This funneling effect has allowed, and encouraged, more people with weak or non-existent asylum claims to enter the U.S.

In May 2023, following the expiration of Title 42, Senator Tuberville reintroduced The Empowering Law Enforcement Act, which would grant state and local law enforcement inherent immigration enforcement authority to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer an illegal immigrant who has entered the U.S. Additionally, this legislation would provide Secretary of DHS flexibility on how long a criminal alien may be detained, to ensure violent criminals are not released back into communities.

In March 2023, Senator Tuberville cosponsored the Stopping Border Surges Act to address loopholes in our immigration system that encourage vulnerable immigrant populations to take dangerous, illegal paths of entry into the United States. The legislation includes reforms that would reduce unsustainable surges of illegal immigrants, strengthen our asylum process, eliminate the incentive to send children to the border; and dampen the exploitative power of coyotes and cartels.

In 2021, Senator Tuberville introduced his first piece of legislation as U.S. Senator, which required DHS to issue notices to appear to every single person paroled or released into the U.S., after media reported on the border becoming so overrun that Customs and Border Protection officers were forced to quickly release illegal immigrants into U.S. communities with no follow up for a date in immigration court.

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.