Senator Joins Renewed Effort to Require Detention of Illegal Immigrants Criminally Charged with Violent Crimes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With President Biden’s action to reverse an executive order prioritizing prosecuting illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) has renewed her support for passage of Sarah’s Law, commonsense legislation to strengthen federal detention of criminal immigrants.

Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of Sarah’s Law, which would require federal law enforcement to detain illegal immigrants criminally charged with killing or seriously injuring another person.  In his first day in office, President Biden revoked a 2017 Trump administration executive order that included parts of Sarah’s Law.

“There’s a certain lack of common sense for anybody charged with a heinous crime, let alone an illegal immigrant, to be carelessly released back into communities,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Sarah’s Law closes loopholes in our immigration system that currently allow violent criminals to escape from justice.”

The Sarah’s Law legislation, authored by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), honors Sarah Root, an Iowa native killed in January 2016 by an illegal immigrant who was released by federal law enforcement due to a loophole in the law and never faced justice.

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.

Passage of Sarah’s Law would codify the Trump order to prevent future administrations from deprioritizing the detention of illegal immigrants who commit crimes involving death or serious bodily injury, and restricting information to victims of such crimes.

Additional original cosponsors of the Ernst bill include Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and John Thune (R-S.D.). 

Hyde-Smith also cosponsored Sarah’s Law in the 116 Congress.  Senate Democrats blocked an effort to pass that legislation last August.