According to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, “Sarah’s Law” would require ICE officials to detain illegal immigrants who have been charged with a violent crime, such as murder.
The bill is named in honor of Sarah Root, a twenty-one-year-old girl from Iowa, who was struck and killed by Edwin Mejia in 2016. According to a news release, Mejia entered the country illegally and was driving drunk – three times over the legal limit.
Mejia posted bail shortly after Root’s death, and he has not been seen since. While the bill has failed twice, it was re-introduced yesterday by Iowa Senator Joni Ernst on the 3rd anniversary of Root’s death.
“It is wholly unacceptable that someone who is here illegally and is responsible for the death of another human being is not considered an enforcement priority nor is detained by ICE,” Ernst said. “We have an obligation to the Root family, and to the American people, to ensure that no person falls victim to this injustice again. Sarah’s Law brings us one step closer to restoring justice in our broken immigration system by allowing ICE to detain and hold these criminals accountable.”
While President Trump used an Executive Order to implement major parts of the law in 2017, the Senators are hoping to get the bill passed to prevent future administrations from withdrawing President Trump’s order.
“It shouldn’t take a law to emphasize the protection of our citizens is a priority for any federal agency, especially in cases of illegal immigrants committing serious crimes. Just so it’s clear, this legislation codifies President Trump’s executive order to ensure illegal immigrants who commit crimes are detained and held to account,” Hyde-Smith said.
The legislation also requires ICE to make reasonable efforts to identify and provide relevant information to the crime victims or their families.