Iowa and Nebraska Senators Lead Way in Re-Introducing Sarah’s Law
Jan 05, 2017
Support grows for legislation in the new Congress
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), along with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Ben Sasse (R-NE), today re-introduced Sarah’s Law – legislation to honor Sarah Root, an Iowan who was killed nearly one year ago by a drunk driver in the country illegally – in the 115th Congress. Sarah’s Law would amend the immigration laws to ensure that illegal immigrants who are a threat to public safety are taken into custody and off the streets. Since first introduced in June 2016, support for Sarah’s Law has grown with the addition of new original cosponsors: Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK). The Senate Judiciary Committee, which Grassley chairs, has jurisdiction over the nation’s federal immigration policy.
“No family should be forced to endure the pain that the Roots have felt since last year. First, young Sarah’s life was cut short by an immigrant who disregarded the rule of law and decided to get behind the wheel after drinking. Then the Obama Administration refused to take custody of Sarah’s killer because it didn’t consider him a priority, allowing him to disappear into the shadows. The Roots have been robbed of their daughter, and at least for now, they have been robbed of justice. Our legislation, named in Sarah’s memory, will ensure that those who harm or kill Americans will be taken into custody and removed while also ensuring that victims and their families get the information they deserve from the government as they pursue justice,” Grassley said.
“It is unconscionable that nearly one year after Sarah’s death, Edwin Mejia remains at-large, and the fact remains that today U.S. immigration law does not require federal immigration authorities to detain those here illegally who harm American citizens. Although nothing can bring Sarah back to her family or heal the wounds of such unimaginable loss, we have an obligation to the American people to ensure that no citizen falls victim to this injustice again. Sarah’s Law is about honoring Sarah, and her legacy; I have already had conversations with the incoming administration, and am hopeful that they will work with Congress to pursue this legislation and finally get some long-overdue justice for the Root family,” Ernst said.
“Almost one year after Sarah’s tragic death, our prayers are with the Root family. We’re continuing our efforts to address the failed policies that allowed Sarah’s killer to escape. Through Sarah’s Law, Congress can help keep our families and our communities safe,” Fischer said.
“Mr. Mejia has been on ICE’s Most Wanted List for more than nine months — that’s time he should have been behind bars. Congress has an opportunity to make sure this never happens again. Sarah’s Law would make it absolutely clear that ICE must immediately detain any illegal alien who kills someone,” Sasse Said.
About Sarah’s Law:
Sarah’s Law is in honor of Sarah Root, a twenty-one year-old Iowan who was struck and killed in Omaha by Edwin Mejia, who entered the country illegally and was driving drunk – three times over the legal limit – and drag racing.
Following state criminal charges of motor vehicle homicide and outreach by local law enforcement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) declined to use its discretion to issue a detainer and take Mejia into custody. He subsequently posted bond and has since disappeared. Now, nearly one year later, Mejia still remains at-large.
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. The legislation also requires ICE to make reasonable efforts to identify and provide relevant information to the crime victims or their families.
The legislation also requires ICE to make reasonable efforts to identify and provide relevant information to the crime victims or their families.
Under this law, Mejia would have been detained, not been allowed to flee from justice, and the Root family would be kept up-to-date on Mejia’s status and federal immigration authorities’ efforts to remove him from the United States.