WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Ben Sasse (R-NE)—Midland senators serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee—are urging William Barr, the next Attorney General of the United States, to prioritize his review of Sarah’s Law.
“Sarah Root’s story is one of tragedy and injustice. While we’re working to pass Sarah’s Law in Congress, it’s imperative we have the commitment of the Department of Justice and our next Attorney General to make implementation of this commonsense legislation a top priority. We have an obligation to the Root family, and to the American people, to ensure that no person falls victim to this injustice again,” said Senator Joni Ernst, member of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
“Local and federal authorities must cooperate to ensure no victim and family is deprived of justice. Sarah Root had her whole life in front of her, but it was taken away by someone who shouldn’t have even been in the country. Sadly, that tragedy is not an isolated case. Many innocent Americans have been seriously injured, and in some cases killed, because of the actions of criminal illegal aliens. Once he’s confirmed, I expect Attorney General Barr to work with us to finally enact Sarah’s Law and ensure justice is served for her family and any family like hers,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, member of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
“Sarah’s Law is a common-sense proposal and the next Attorney General ought to commit to working with us to make this a top priority for the Department of Justice. This important legislation needs to go to the President for his signature. We’re working hard to make sure that happens here in the Senate — and I hope General Barr makes a review of the legislation a priority in his first 60 days. Sarah’s family deserves justice, and criminals like Edwin Mejia should be in jail, not on the run,” said Senator Ben Sasse, member of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
Sarah's Law would require federal law enforcement to detain illegal immigrants criminally charged with killing or seriously injuring another person. Edwin Mejia was living illegally in the United States and killed Sarah Root in a drunk driving incident. Mejia then fled and remains on ICE's most wanted list.
This week during the Senate leadership stakeout, Senator Ernst, vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, spoke about the importance of codifying Sarah’s Law. Watch here.
Text of the letter can be found here or below:
Dear General Barr,
Congratulations on your recent nomination to serve again as Attorney General of the United States. As members of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, we write to you today to follow up on a line of questioning by Senator Ernst during your recent confirmation hearing.
As Senator Ernst related, in January of 2016 an illegal alien, Edwin Mejia, was street racing while intoxicated in Omaha, Nebraska when he violently crashed his pickup truck into the back of another vehicle. Inside the other vehicle was a young woman named Sarah Root. Ms. Root, a Council Bluffs, Iowa native who had graduated college just hours before, was rushed to the hospital, where she died from her injuries. In light of Mejia’s past encounters with law enforcement that included a skipped court hearing and a subsequent warrant issued for his arrest, Omaha police requested that the Obama administration detain Mejia, but it refused to do so, allowing Mejia to disappear. He remains at large, and Ms. Root’s grieving family and friends have been deprived of justice.
To address this case and other such tragedies that have befallen the Midlands and the rest of the country, we introduced Sarah’s Law, which amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to require the detention of illegal aliens who have been charged in the United States with a crime that resulted in the death or serious bodily injury of another person. In your hearing, you described our legislation as “a very commonsensical bill and something that [you] would certainly be inclined to support.” We find your statement greatly encouraging. We write to you today to spell out steps we urge you take in regards to this critical issue:
- If confirmed, please prioritize review of this legislation by the appropriate components of the Department to be completed within the first 60 days of your time in office;
- Should the Department under your leadership determine that it can support this legislation, please commit to working with us to enact it into law; and
- Please commit to conduct a review within 180 days of Department policies to determine steps that the Department has taken and could take in the future to effectuate the goals of Sarah’s Law and Executive Order 13768.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our staff at (202) 224-4224, (202) 224-3254, and (202) 224-3744.