DHS Secretary says agency ‘not notified’ of suspect’s prior arrests before Laken Riley’s killing

ATLANTA — The head of the Department of Homeland Security says the government was not notified about the prior arrest of the man accused of killing Laken Riley on the University of Georgia campus.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas appeared on the “Face the Nation” over the weekend we he spoke extensively about the crisis at the Southern Border as well as the killing of Riley allegedly by Jose Ibarra, who authorities say was in the country illegally.

Prior to living in Athens, investigators said Ibarra had been arrested at least twice, including by federal authorities, when he crossed the border. Each time he was released.

When pressed about whether Ibarra should have already been deported, Mayorkas said cities across the country have varying cooperation with Homeland Security and ICE.

“We firmly believe that if a city is aware of an individual who poses a threat to public safety, then we would request that they provide us with that information so that we can ensure that that individual is detained if the facts so warrant,” Mayorkas said. “We were not notified in this instance.”

“One individual is responsible for the murder, and that is the murderer,” Mayorkas went on to say. “Our hearts break for and our prayers are with the family.”

Riley’s killing has become a flashpoint in the immigration debate not only in Georgia but also across the country.

Shortly following the incident, Gov. Brian Kemp put Riley’s death squarely at the feet of the Biden administration.

“I mean, this is what we … feared would happen,” Kemp said. “We just have a nightmare in this country with mass migration, and then have people who are here illegally breaking our laws, and they’re not telling anyone and report it to us.”


U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff blamed former President Donald Trump for helping to kill a bipartisan immigration bill brought forth by the U.S. Senate.

“The former president’s decision to deliberately tank the bipartisan security legislation that was proceeding through the Senate was so destructive, in my view, to our national security,” Ossoff said.

During a trip to the Southern Border last week, Trump brought up Riley’s death saying she was “beautiful in so many ways and brutally assaulted.”

“Joe Biden will never say Laken Riley’s name, but we will say it and we will remember. We’re not going to forget her. It’s been just a horrible story,” Trump said.

The White House released a statement about Riley’s killing, saying:

“We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Laken Hope Riley. People should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law if they are found to be guilty.”

State lawmakers have used Riley’s death as a call to stiffen immigration laws here in Georgia.

Last week, House Bill 1105 was passed, which would require local law enforcement to apply to help federal agents enforce immigration laws and enact criminal penalties for sheriffs who don’t contact federal officials to check prisoners’ immigration status.

That bill now goes to the Senate for debate.

Riley was laid to rest on Friday.

The family has requested donations be made in her honor to a GoFundMe account. All the money raised will go towards starting the Laken Riley Foundation to “drive homicide awareness and safety for women.”

“Laken was an amazing daughter, sister, friend and an overall extraordinary person. She will be missed every day, but we promise to honor her life moving forward in a very big way,” her family wrote.