WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst today issued the following statement on President Trump’s executive orders to secure our borders and protect U.S. citizens:
“We must secure our borders in order to protect our citizens and ensure that anyone entering our country is doing so in accordance with the law; I am encouraged to see these actions from the Trump administration today.
“For the last year, my colleagues and I have advocated for Sarah’s Law – legislation that would require federal immigration authorities to detain those here illegally who harm American citizens. Additionally, Sarah’s Law would ensure victims and families of crimes committed by illegal immigrants receive up-to-date information from federal immigration authorities.
“With this in mind, I am especially pleased to see that President Trump is taking steps in this direction -- ensuring that those charged with criminal offenses are considered priorities for enforcement and directing the establishment of a new office within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that will be responsible for providing relevant information to crime victims and their families.
“While nothing will bring back Sarah Root, we have an obligation to her family and all Americans to ensure that no citizen or their families fall victim to this type of injustice again, and I will work tirelessly to see Sarah’s Law fully implemented.”
About Sarah’s Law:
- Sarah’s Law is in honor of Sarah Root, a twenty-one year-old Iowan who was struck and killed in Omaha by Edwin Mejia, who entered the country illegally and was driving drunk – three times over the legal limit – and drag racing.
- Following state criminal charges of motor vehicle homicide and outreach by local law enforcement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) declined to use its discretion to issue a detainer, and Mejia subsequently posted bond and has since disappeared. Now, nearly one year later, Mejia still remains at-large.
- Sarah’s Law would amend the mandatory detention provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act to require the federal government to take custody of anyone who entered the country illegally, violated the terms of their immigration status, or had their visa revoked and is thereafter charged with a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person. The legislation also requires ICE to make reasonable efforts to identify and provide relevant information to the crime victims or their families.
- Under this law, Mejia would have been detained, not been allowed to flee from justice, and the Root family would be kept up-to-date on Mejia’s status and federal immigration authorities’ efforts to remove him from the United States.
From the President’s Executive Order:
Sec. 5. Enforcement Priorities. In executing faithfully the immigration laws of the United States, the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) shall prioritize for removal those aliens described by the Congress in sections 212(a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(6)(C), 235, and 237(a)(2) and (4) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(6)(C), 1225, and 1227(a)(2) and (4)), as well as removable aliens who:
(a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense;
(b) Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved;
(c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
(d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;
(e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
(f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or
(g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.
Sec. 13. Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens. The Secretary shall direct the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take all appropriate and lawful action to establish within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement an office to provide proactive, timely, adequate, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and the family members of such victims. This office shall provide quarterly reports studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States.