Ernst leads GOP colleagues in reintroducing Sarah’s Law

Sen. Joni Ernst

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) last week led 19 Republicans in reintroducing a bill that would require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain illegal immigrants criminally charged in the United States with killing or seriously injuring another person.

“Sarah’s Law brings us one step closer to restoring justice in our broken immigration system by allowing federal law enforcement to detain and prosecute violent criminals,” said Sen. Ernst.

Sen. Ernst on Jan. 28 sponsored Sarah’s Law, S. 80, with cosponsors including U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Roy Blunt (R-MO). The bill is named after Sarah Root, a 22-year-old Iowan killed in January 2016 by an illegal immigrant later released by federal law enforcement due to a loophole in the law, according to Sen. Ernst’s office.

“Five years ago, a loophole allowed an illegal immigrant who murdered a young Iowan to escape the country and justice,” Sen. Ernst said. “We need families in Iowa, and across the country, to know that the federal government will do everything possible to hold murderers accountable.”

President Joe Biden reversed former President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order that implemented parts of Sarah’s Law, including prioritizing detention of criminal illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes and creating the Office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement.

Sen. Tillis called it “unbelievable” that lawmakers needed to reintroduce this bill to ensure law and order and safety. 

“I urge President Biden to start putting law-abiding citizens first and stop prioritizing reckless immigration laws,” Sen. Tillis said. “I supported this commonsense legislation so we can crack down on violent criminals here illegally and work towards safer communities.”

If enacted, S. 80 also would require ICE to make reasonable efforts to identify and provide relevant information to the crime victims or their families, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Ernst’s office.

“We must remember Sarah’s story and the families of Tennessee victims such as the Corcorans, who lost their son Pierce in a car accident caused by an illegal immigrant,” added Sen. Blackburn. “No other American family should have to endure such injustice.”